On Christmas Eve, Palestinians, many of them dressed as Santa Claus, staged a rally in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank protesting against to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters near an Israeli military tower in Bethlehem – the ancient city widely acknowledged as the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Throughout Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the West Bank pilgrimage and tourism was noticeably down over the Christmas holiday season as protests and clashes over President Trump’s December 6th announcement continued, which also included plans to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem in order to reflect the change in status.
The AFP reported that even many locals have stayed away from centrally located Christmas celebrations at traditional gathering places this year due to the clashes:
On Bethlehem’s Manger Square, hundreds of Palestinians and tourists gathered in the cold near a huge nativity scene and Christmas tree to watch the annual scout parade. They took pictures as a marching band made its way through the square towards the Church of the Nativity, built over the spot where tradition says Mary gave birth to Jesus. The square usually throngs with tourists on Christmas Eve, but clashes between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli army in the past weeks have kept people away this year.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 25, 2017.