Bethlehem celebrates first Christmas since UN recognition of Palestine

Festivities mark ‘birth of Christ and birth of state of Palestine’, patriarch tells crowds

Nativity Church

The Guardian: Deep in the Grotto of the Nativity, where a 14-point silver star set into a marble slab marks the spot where Jesus is believed to have been born, the atmosphere of spiritual serenity seemed a world away from the swirling, and occasionally fractious, Christmas Eve crowds above.
Midnight mass at St Catherine’s was the finale to a day of celebration and ceremony in Bethlehem, boosted this year by being the first Christmas since the United Nations recognised the state of Palestine last month and the Nativity church was named a world heritage site by the UN’s cultural arm, Unesco, in June.

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