By The Evangelist News edition, Wednesday, December 25, 2023. Admin.
Palestinians said they felt “no joy” this Christmas as Israel bombed Gaza on Monday, with no end in sight to the war that Hamas says has claimed more than 20,000 lives.
Festivities were effectively scrapped in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, with few worshippers or tourists on the usually packed streets.
In the besieged Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health said early Monday Israeli strikes had killed at least 18 people in the southern city of Khan Younis, the centre of recent fighting.
At a hospital in the city, Fadi Sayegh — whose family has previously received permits to travel to Bethlehem for celebrations — said he would not be celebrating Christmas this year.
“There is no joy. No Christmas tree, no decorations, no family dinner, no celebrations,” he said while undergoing dialysis. “I pray for this war to be over soon.”
Sister Nabila Salah from the Catholic Holy Church in Gaza – where two Christian women were killed by an Israeli sniper earlier this month according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – struck a sombre tone.
“All Christmas celebrations have been cancelled,” she told AFP. “How do we celebrate when we are… hearing the sound of tanks and bombardment instead of the ringing of bells?”