GAZA: Bethlehem has decided to cancel its annual Christmas celebrations due to the ongoing siege of Gaza, around three months into the war between Hamas and Israel.
Bethlehem is located in the Occupied West Bank – is typically flooded with visitors and other celebrants in late December.
The Palestinian health authorities said that the death toll in Gaza has reached at least 20,258 people, mostly women and children, due to ongoing relentless Israeli attacks since October 7. The statement added that in the past 24 hours alone, 201 Palestinians have been killed, and 368 others injured in the Gaza Strip.
Bethlehem Cancels Christmas Celebrations Amid War in Gaza
UN chief Antonio Guterres addressed the escalating conflict, stating that four out of the five hungriest people globally are in Gaza. Guterres emphasized the UN’s commitment to responding to the intensifying conflict and the growing humanitarian crisis in the region.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Israel of deliberately escalating massacres to disrupt the implementation of the recent UN Security Council resolution aimed at boosting aid to the Strip. The UNSC on Friday passed a toned-down bid to boost humanitarian help to Gaza and called for urgent measures “to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities” following a week of vote delays and intense talks to avoid a veto by Washington.
The courtyards and streets in Bethlehem are mostly empty, the roads and routes leading to the city have been sealed off by Israeli troops, and several towns and villages in the area have been violently attacked by armed Israeli troops.
Churches across the region announced the cancellation of all Christmas festivities in an expression of unity with people in the Gaza Strip.