Christmas season begins

Friday, December 16, 2005 | 
Palestinians lit up a Christmas tree in Manger Square, officially kicking off the Christmas season. Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh urged Christian pilgrims around the world to come visit the birthplace of Jesus on Christmas. With a lull in violence, 30,000 visitors are expected in Bethlehem this year, up from 18,000 last year. Israeli and Palestinian officials are cooperating to ease passage from Jerusalem to Bethlehem because, after all, tourism benefits everyone.

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