The Arab rulers of Bethlehem are canceling Christmas.
The city was once 86% Christian majority but after Israel turned over control to the Palestinian Authority, most Christians fled. As recently as 1995, 80% of the city was Christian. They now make up just 12%.
Now the Muslim-majority city is removing all Christmas decorations from public places “in honor of the martyrs” killed in Gaza, the city said in a Facebook post this week.
A spokesman for the city claimed: “It is not appropriate at all to have such festivities while there is a massacre happening in Gaza and attacks in the West Bank.”
The city typically hosts thousands of tourists during the Bethlehem Christmas season but tourism has trailed off in recent years. Jewish tour guides, who typically lead Christian tours, are not allowed in the city, nor are Jewish bus drivers.
Christians in the city are fearful to speak out, according to numerous reports. Church leaders that control Church of the Nativity have in recent decades been forced to align with the Palestinian Authority to prevent acts of violence against the dwindling community.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice