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Christmas tree-lighting in Bethlehem a muted, virtual event

Palestinians Christmas
Posted at 10:51 PM, Dec 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 22:51:36-05

BETHLEHEM -- Only a few dozen people have attended the lighting of the Christmas tree in the biblical city of Bethlehem as coronavirus restrictions scaled back the annual event that is normally attended by thousands.

A small group of residents and religious leaders participated in the tree-lighting ceremony at Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity on Saturday night.

Some officials, including Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, attended in person and addressed people participating in the event virtually.

Shtayyeh said the Palestinian leadership is receiving the new year with determination to “confronting the (Israeli) occupation more firmly” and ending the internal political division with the rival militant Hamas group.