Thou­sands at­tend Christ­mas tree light­ing in Beth­le­hem

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Obituaries/News - Hearst wire ser­vices

Thou­sands of faith­ful and dig­ni­taries have at­tended the light­ing of the gi­ant Christ­mas tree out­side the Church of the Na­tiv­ity in the tra­di­tional birth­place of Je­sus.

Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah and Fa­ther Francesco Pat­ton, a top of­fi­cial with the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, were present at Satur­day's cer­e­mony in the Pales­tinian bi­b­li­cal city of Beth­le­hem in the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

Ham­dal­lah said the Pales­tini­ans were re­sist­ing Is­raeli plans “to up­root us and strip us from our civ­i­liza­tion and his­tory.”

A fire­works dis­play and fes­tiv­i­ties ac­com­pa­nied the an­nual cer­e­mony at the Manger Square in the run up to Christ­mas Eve, which at­tracts thou­sands of pil­grims and tourists from around the world.

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