[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER PALESTINE AND PEACE]
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Hundreds of Palestinians have gathered in Bethlehem to light a Christmas tree ahead of the holiday festivities in the town where Jesus was born.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad pressed a button lighting up the decorations on the 50-foot (15-meter) tree Thursday, along with the lights illuminating the rest of the square outside the Church of the Nativity.
Christmas brings the world's attention every year briefly to this West Bank town south of Jerusalem.
Fayyad said Christmas was an opportunity to "celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ."
Palestinians light Bethlehem Christmas treeA Palestinian man works on Bethlehem's Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
A general view of Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, is seen during the annual lighting ceremony of a Christmas tree in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 15, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman