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16th of January 2018


Christmas in Bethlehem: Trump's Jerusalem shift looms large

BETHLEHEM, West Bank –  President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital looms large in Christmas festivities this year in the traditional birthplace of Jesus, biblical Bethlehem.

Some vendors and a leading hotelier in Bethlehem say Palestinian protests, triggered by what many here view as a provocative show of Trump's pro-Israel bias, have hurt their Christmas business.

Yet Bethlehem also offers a stage for a Palestinian rebuttal: banners proclaiming Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine have been draped over facades on Manger Square as a backdrop for Christmas TV broadcasts to a global audience.

Mahmoud Salahat, who sells pomegranate juice on the square, says his main source of income — Palestinian citizens of Israel — have largely stayed away from Bethlehem during the past two weeks, apparently fearing trouble on the roads.

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