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Bethlehem limits Christmas

Hanna Amireh, who heads a government committee on churches in the West Bank, confirmed the Palestinian Authority is requesting “a certain decrease” in Christmas festivities following the deaths of dozens of Palestinians since mid-September.

Amireh said the government has asked the municipality of Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born and where official Palestinian celebrations of Christmas take place, not to set off holiday fireworks this year and to limit the festive lights and decorations that traditionally adorn the town’s to two main streets.

Palestinian Christians comprise less than 2 percent of the population of the West Bank and Israel.

Ekram Juha, director of the Bethlehem mayor’s office, said of the Palestinian Authority’s plans, “This is the place where Jesus was born and if you limit Christmas celebrations here you are limiting something spiritual and holy. I can understand limiting celebrations elsewhere, but not here in Bethlehem.”

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