Due to the Israeli war massacre, BETHLEHEM has officially canceled Christmas for the first time in decades.
The birthplace of Jesus has announced that the city’s usual decorations will be removed and the usual celebrations “in honor of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza” will not take place.
The shocking move means no large Christmas tree or decorative lights will be erected in Manger Square – the exact spot where Jesus is said to have been born.
This is the first time since the modern celebrations began that they have been canceled and even during the Covid-19 pandemic the square was still decorated.
A spokesperson for Bethlehem Parish confirmed that normal Christmas plans ahead of December 25th have been completely scrapped.
The spokesman said: “The reason is the general situation in Palestine; People aren’t really celebrating, they’re sad, angry and upset; Our people in Gaza are being massacred and killed in cold blood.”
Read more in Israel: Hamas war
“Therefore, it is completely inappropriate to hold such celebrations while a massacre is taking place in Gaza and attacks are taking place in the West Bank.
“Bethlehem should send its own message of condolences and sorrow.”
A “Christmas Mass and Prayers” will still take place, but there will be no lights or decorations anywhere in the area.
Bethlehem is a historic city of 25,000 but is located just six miles south of Jerusalem in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank.
Due to the rich religious history, Christians from all over the world make pilgrimages to the Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity to celebrate the birth of Christ.
But since the brutal Hamas massacre on October 7 and the horrors of the war in Gaza, the city has been deserted and neglected in a usual bustling city.
Fighting is still ongoing in Gaza and just yesterday the Israeli military blew up a government building, just days after declaring there was “no hiding place” for the terror group.
Dramatic footage posted on social media shows an explosion at the building before it is engulfed by a raging fire, sending thick clouds of smoke billowing into the sky.
It came just two days after Israeli troops were pictured at a parliament building in Gaza City.
Impressive images showed IDF troops proudly waving Israeli flags inside the building after capturing the site.
The smiling soldiers could be seen inside the bullet-riddled building behind rows of seats and a table where Hamas leaders once sat.
The building was captured by the 7th Armored Brigade and the Golani Infantry Brigade.
Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas from Gaza and is continuing its ground offensive in the north of the enclave.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday there was “no hiding place” for the terror group in the area.
“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 area’s largest hospital.
“There is no place in Gaza that we will not reach.”
In recent days, Israeli troops have targeted and surrounded al-Shifa hospital in the belief that Hamas militants are hiding in a bunker beneath the base and using patients as human shields.
As a result, the hospital has become a clear symbol of the widespread suffering of Palestinian civilians, as patients, including newborns, die as a result of scarce supplies and a lack of electricity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that there was a complete blackout and 36 newborns were fighting for their lives after they had to be removed from disused incubators.
The WHO said the site was “almost a cemetery” as bodies were piled up inside and out.
The IDF said today it is in the process of coordinating the transfer of incubators to Gaza to help save newborns.
According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, over 11,000 people – including 4,500 children – are believed to have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its retaliatory strikes and ground operations.
The Israeli bombing and siege of the Gaza Strip was triggered by Hamas’s bloody cross-border rampage against Israel, in which 1,200 people were slaughtered and some 230 hostages were kidnapped into Gaza.