Bethlehem cancels all Christmas festivities in solidarity with the people of Gaza


All Christmas holidays have been canceled in Bethlehem in the West Bank to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.


Bethlehem, traditionally known for its joyous and light-filled Christmas celebrations, takes a different approach this year.

In solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza, the municipality of Bethlehem organized an art work called “Nativity under the rubble” in Manger Square, where a decorated Christmas tree is usually located.

The event was inaugurated on Saturday evening by Rula Maayah, Palestinian Minister of Tourism, and Hana Hananiyeh, mayor of Bethlehem.

The artwork depicts the nativity scene among the remains of a demolished building, symbolizing the struggles and suffering faced by the Palestinian people in Gaza.

“This is a message to the whole world that the whole world is celebrating Christmas, but not Bethlehem. Bethlehem this year celebrates Christmas in a different way with a message to the whole world that Palestine is suffering. That Bethlehem is suffering. That Bethlehem celebrates Christmas from the rubble. Not like all the other people in the world,” said Rula Maayah.

Mayor Hana Hananiyeh drew parallels with the story of the nativity and the current situation in Gaza.

He said the forced displacement of Palestinian families by the Israeli occupation echoed the flight of the Holy Family from King Herod’s decree.

Hananiyeh called on the international community to intervene and address the injustices faced by Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Israel declared war after Hamas gunmen stormed across the border on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking around 240 hostages.

According to Gaza health officials, more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war to destroy Hamas and more than 53,000 have been injured.

Despite growing international calls for a ceasefire, Israel has vowed to continue the fight until Hamas is destroyed and removed from power in Gaza and all hostages are freed.

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