• Bethlehem

  • Monday, December 25, 2023 at 4:22 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 15, 2024 at 4:55 AM

Bethlehem’s Grotto of the Nativity Consecrated

(AWP) - On Saturday, the Bethlehem municipality consecrated the Grotto of the Nativity under symbolic rubble at the Church of the Nativity, as the Palestinian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Rola Ma’aya, said that Christmas this year in Bethlehem comes in different circumstances due to the war on the Gaza Strip.

“This Christmas is different from any previous ones. The whole world is celebrating the glory of Christmas, except the city of the Nativity. Bethlehem is receiving Christmas with sadness and pain over what is taking place in Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip. On a daily basis, there are hundreds of martyrs and wounded in Gaza, and in all of the Palestinian towns and camps,” she said.

Ma’aya addressed a message to the world, saying that it must “stand with Palestine, with the Palestinian people. Palestine deserves to live like any other country around the globe, without occupation, and to celebrate its festivities like any other country in the world.”

Bethlehem municipality chief Hanna Hanania said, “the message of Bethlehem is clear. It is one of sadness, anger, and rejection of war crimes and the extermination of our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and also in the West Bank. The international community must rise to its responsibilities and stop this genocide.

Palestinians have the right to self-determination, and to establish their own state, with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Father Ibrahim Faltas, Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, urged world leaders to work on establishing peace in Palestine.

“We send a message of peace to all the rulers around the world, and appeal to them to do whatever they can so that peace may be realized in this holy land. Bethlehem is sad, as we see. This great work gives a message to the whole world that we want to live in peace. We want peace to prevail,” he added.

The event was marked by prayers for peace in Palestine, as candles were lit and an operetta titled ‘Salute for Gaza’ was performed.