" "

Bethlehem mourns as Gaza’s deadliest war overshadows Christmas celebrations

0 169

Bethlehem, traditionally a hub of Christmas festivities, was shrouded in sorrow on Christmas Eve as the toll of Gaza’s deadliest conflict continued to rise.

The conflict, marked by a significant shift in Israel’s tactics against Hamas, cast a dark shadow over the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Amid escalating tensions, Christmas celebrations in the occupied West Bank city were effectively canceled.

Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa delivered a message of peace and solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza, emphasizing the dire need to protect civilians.

US President, Joe Biden, stated this in a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who asserted Israel’s determination to pursue its goals in the war.

The Israeli army reported 154 troops killed in Gaza since the ground invasion commenced on October 27, with Saturday marking one of the deadliest days for the Israeli side.

Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged the heavy toll but reiterated the necessity of continued military engagement.

Israel claimed a significant find during a raid in northern Gaza, alleging the discovery of explosive belts for children, mortar shells, grenades, and intelligence documents.

Hamas refuted these claims, accusing Israel of using them to justify civilian casualties.

The conflict erupted when Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in a high death toll and numerous hostages.

Israel’s robust military response, including extensive aerial bombardment, has led to substantial casualties, particularly among women and children.

In Bethlehem, where Christmas Eve festivities are usually vibrant, the atmosphere was subdued. Church leaders decided to forgo elaborate celebrations in solidarity with Gaza, leaving the city nearly deserted.

The Latin patriarch emphasized the need to end hostilities, stating that a ceasefire alone is insufficient.

Palestinian Christians expressed solidarity with their fellow Gazans, with Sister Nabila Salah from the Catholic Holy Church in Gaza declaring the cancellation of all Christmas celebrations amid the sounds of war.

Gaza’s dire situation, exacerbated by an Israeli siege, has left vast areas in ruins, with 80% of the population displaced.

Calls for a humanitarian ceasefire intensified, with the UN and WHO urging an end to the suffering and highlighting the tragic state of Gaza’s health system.

As the conflict rages on, diplomatic efforts persist, including talks in Cairo involving leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The repercussions of the Gaza war extend beyond the region, with heightened tensions affecting international waters and prompting the U.S. to establish a naval taskforce to counter missile and drone strikes.

Amidst this grim backdrop, Bethlehem’s subdued Christmas serves as a poignant reminder of the human toll and the urgent need for a resolution to the conflict.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © Muslim Media Corporation, New York. All rights reserved.