News Release

Palestinians Cancel Christmas Celebrations Amid Gaza Devastation

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Middle East Eye reports in “Palestinians cancel Christmas celebrations amid Gaza devastation” that: “This year, there will be no Christmas lights in Bethlehem, no festive parades in Jerusalem or elaborate decorations in Israel.“In Gaza, Palestinians are mourning the loss of over 17,000 killed in Israeli bombings. Bodies are being pulled out from under the rubble, while people continue to search for their missing loved ones amidst wide-scale destruction. …

“However, for the first time since the start of modern celebrations of Christmas, Jesus’s birthplace and the Manger Square tree in Bethlehem will not be decorated.”…
“The patriarchs and heads of the churches in Jerusalem have asked Christians to refrain from ‘unnecessarily festive’ Christmas activities. Catholic churches in Galilee have made a similar request.“The president of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, Munir Kakish, said the decision came due to ‘the thousands killed — and in prayer for peace.’ He added that ‘we will only hold traditional services and devotionals on the meaning of Christmas.'”

Rev. MITRI RAHEB, mraheb@daralkalima.edu.ps, @RahebM    Rev. Raheb is a prominent theologian and the founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University in Bethlehem. Raheb served as the pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem from 1987 until 2017. His books include I am a Palestinian Christian and Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes.

     Listen to an in-depth recent interview with him on Freedom Road Podcast.    He was recently featured on an IPA news release: “Pastor from Bethlehem Challenges U.S. Churches; Calls out Israeli Lies.”