BETHLEHEM has officially cancelled Christmas for the first time in decades due to the Israel war massacre.
Jesus’ birthplace has announced the usual decorations for the city will be taken down and the usual celebrations wont go ahead “in honour of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza“.
The shock move means there will be no huge Christmas tree put up or any decorative lights in Manger Square – the exact spot Jesus was said to be born in.
This is the first time they’ve been cancelled since the modern celebrations began and even during the Covid-19 pandemic the square was still decorated.
A spokesman for the Bethlehem municipality confirmed that the normal plans for Christmas have been completely scrapped ahead of December 25.
The spokesman said: “The reason is the general situation in Palestine; people are not really into any celebration, they are sad, angry and upset; our people in Gaza are being massacred and killed in cold blood.”
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“Therefore, it is not appropriate at all to have such festivities while there is a massacre happening in Gaza and attacks in the West Bank.
“Bethlehem should send out its own message of condolence and mourning.”
A Christmas “mass and prayers” is still set to take place but no lights or decorations will be up anywhere in the area.
Bethlehem is a historical town with 25,000 people living there but it sits just six miles south of Jerusalem in the Palestinian-patrolled West Bank.
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Due to the rich religious history, Christians from all around the world go on a pilgrimage to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity to celebrate the birth of Christ.
However, since Hamas’ brutal Oct 7 massacre and the horrors of war in Gaza, the town has been empty of visitors and sat neglected in a usual bustling town.
Fighting is still ongoing in Gaza and just yesterday Israeli military blew up a government building just days after vowing there was “no hiding” place for the terror group.
Dramatic footage posted to social media shows an explosion at the building before it becomes engulfed in a raging blaze, sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky.
Striking images showed the IDF troops proudly waving Israeli flags inside the building after capturing the site.
The smiling soldiers were seen inside the bullet-ridden building behind rows of seats and a table where Hamas leaders once sat.
The building was captured by the 7th Armored Brigade and Golani Infantry Brigade.
Israel vowed to eradicate Hamas from Gaza and is continuing its ground offensive in the enclave’s north.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said there was “no hiding” place for the terror group in the territory.
“They told us we wouldn’t reach the outskirts of Gaza City and we did, they told us we wouldn’t enter Al-Shifa (hospital) and we did,” he said hours after troops raided the territory’s biggest hospital.
“There is no place in Gaza that we won’t reach.”
In recent days, Israeli troops have targeted and surrounded the al Shifa hospital – convinced that Hamas militants are hiding out in a bunker located beneath the base, and using patients as human shields.
As a result, the hospital has become a stark symbol of the widespread suffering of Palestinian civilians as patients, including newborn babies, have been dying from dwindling supplies and no electricity.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) claimed that power had completely run out and 36 newborn babies were fighting for their lives after having to be removed from defunct incubators.
The WHO stated that the facility is “nearly a cemetery” as bodies piled up inside and outside.
The IDF today said it was in the process of coordinating the transfer of incubators to Gaza to help save newborns.
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Over 11,000 people – including 4,500 children – are said to have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its retaliatory strikes and ground operations, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Israel’s bombardment and siege of the Strip was sparked by Hamas’s bloody cross-border killing spree on Israel, which saw 1,200 slaughtered and some 230 hostages dragged into Gaza.