NEW YORK -- "This year, Bethlehem will not be able to celebrate
Christmas as planned and there will be no Christmas Festival,"
reads a statement from the Palestinian National Authority, which
has had jurisdiction over the city since 1995.
The celebration, which was to have drawn thousands of tourists
keen on visiting Jesus' birthplace, was cancelled because of
continued violence in the region, the statement said.
Specifically, a spokeswoman from the Bethlehem 2000 Project,
which is responsible for promoting tourism in Bethlehem through
2001, said it would be inappropriate to celebrate when more than
"210 Palestinians have been killed and 6,000 wounded" during the
current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.
Christmas celebrations had called for performances by guest
choirs from around the world, a concert in Manger Square and a