Religion Under Siege | Christmas in Gaza: Israeli Military to Allow “Some” Gaza Christians to Leave for Holiday

500 Gazans to Be Allowed to Visit Bethlehem

by Jason Ditz, December 18, 2012 |

Christmas in Gaza is likely as grim as most other days in Gaza. The situation is improving some with the latest ceasefire, but with the blockade still operating in parts, the tiny strip is a lousy place to spend the holidays.

map bethlehemLousy enough that even the Israeli military appears to have taken notice, and is making a big show of allowing Christians to leave the strip briefly, just for Christmas, to visit Bethlehem, a city in the occupied West Bank.

Only some are getting to leave, however, as the Israeli military is issuing around 500 permits in the strip, where the Christian population is estimated at about 10,000. The military is also said to be planning to decrease operations around Bethlehem to facilitate Christian pilgrims’ visits.

Traditionally Bethlehem is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, though the initial city and church were destroyed in 529 during a Samaritan uprising, and the current city on the site was built decades later by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Since then the city has changed hands several times to several different empires, but has retained a significant Christian population, which has made it popular with Christian tourists, particularly at this time of year.

In Pictures

Click on the pictures below to see the albums with beautiful photography

Christmas in Palestine 2012 - Click to see the full album (Photo by Fadi Arouri)

Christmas in Palestine 2012 – Click to see the full album (Photo by Fadi Arouri)

Click to see | Album Christianity in Palestine

Click to see | Album Christmas in Palestine 2011

Click to see | Album Orthodox Christmas in Palestine – Jan 2012

Click to see | Album “Easter in Palestine 2012”

More pictures in the GalleryImages | الصور


Christmas 2012 in Palestine


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