This year’s Christmas celebrations have been cancelled in Bethlehem, with the birthplace of Jesus resembling a ghost town as fighting between Israel and Hamas persist.
The atmosphere in Bethlehem on the eve of Christmas this year looked sad without festive lights and decorations.
“It’s impossible to celebrate when so many — on both sides — have lost so much,” Rami Asakrieh, a Franciscan friar who is pastor of St. Catherine’s Church stated.
“We canceled the festivities as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the war,” he added.
Israel declared war after Hamas gunmen raided across the border on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking some 240 hostages.
According to health officials in Gaza, about 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war to destroy Hamas and more than 53,000 wounded.
Despite pressing international calls for a cease-fire, Israel looks adamant until Hamas is destroyed and removed from power in Gaza and all the hostages are freed.
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