Israel bans Christians in Gaza from reaching West Bank, Jerusalem for Christmas

GAZA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel has banned the Christian minority who live in the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas from visiting Christian holy sites and churches in the West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas, a spokesman for the Christian community said Sunday.

Israeli media reported on Saturday that Israel bans 500 Christians in the Gaza Strip from travelling to the West Bank for Christmas and New Year holidays.

Meanwhile, the Israeli daily said the Israeli security only agreed to allow 100 Christians from the Gaza Strip to travel to Jordan only for Christmas.

Fatah deputy chief meets UN envoy over Palestinian elections

RAMALLAH, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Mahmoud al-Aloul, vice president of Palestinian Fatah party, on Thursday met with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov in the West Bank city of Ramallah over steps to facilitate elections in Palestine.

They discussed the latest developments on holding general elections in Palestine, and the means to allow the elections to take place in East Jerusalem as they did in 1996, 2005 and 2006, according to a statement by al-Aloul's office.

Hamas denies holding secret talks on long-term truce with Israel

GAZA, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement denied on Tuesday some media reports alleging that it is holding secret talks with Israel on reaching a long-term truce in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which has been ruling the coastal Palestinian enclave since 2007, said in a press statement that "the movement denies what is being circulated in some media outlets about a long-term truce with the Israeli occupation."

Palestinians in Bethlehem look beyond religious tourism

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — For decades, the people of Bethlehem have watched tour buses drive up to the Church of the Nativity, disgorge their passengers for a few hours at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, and then return to Israel.

But in recent years a new form of tourism has taken root, focused on the West Bank town’s Palestinian residents, their culture and history and their struggles under Israeli occupation.

Hamas warns Israel about violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

GAZA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Hamas, ruler of the Gaza Strip, on Saturday warned Israel about violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The warning was issued by Abu Obeida, spokesman of Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades, in a short text message, where he held Israel fully responsible for the continuing violations at the mosque.

"What happens at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, whether attacks, provocations or dangerous practices against worshippers, will be a cause for an explosion in the face of the occupation," Obeida said.

"Our patience won't last too long," he added.

Palestine blames U.S. for new Israeli settlement in Hebron

RAMALLAH, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Palestine on Sunday slammed Israel's decision on building a new settlement in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, saying it is a "clear result" of U.S. backing.

"Israel's decision to build a new illegal settlement in occupied Hebron is the first tangible result of the U.S. decision to legitimize colonization; this cannot be taken out of the context annexation," said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Relic thought to be from Jesus’ manger arrives in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A tiny wooden relic that some Christians believe to be part of Jesus’ manger arrived Saturday in its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope.

Cheerful crowds greeted the ornately encased relic with much fanfare before it entered the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity, the West Bank holy site where tradition says Jesus was born.

Palestinians protest US settlement decision in ‘day of rage’

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Thousands of Palestinian protesters took part in a “day of rage” across the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, with some groups clashing with Israeli forces to protest the U.S. announcement that it no longer believes Israeli settlements violate international law.

Around 2,000 people gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah by midday, where they set ablaze posters of U.S. President Donald Trump as well as Israeli and American flags. Schools, universities and government offices were closed and rallies were being held in other West Bank cities.

Palestinians to launch protests against U.S. declaration over Israeli settlements

RAMALLAH, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian officials on Sunday declared launch of protests against the latest remarks by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the legality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Officials of various factions and parties said that the protests will kick off with a "Day of Rage" on Tuesday, a day of protests to take place at military checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

Hamas chief says battle with Israel "not over" despite cease-fire

GAZA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas chief, said on Sunday that the battle with Israel is "not over" although the new wave of violence in the Gaza Strip is over.

Haniyeh made the remarks after he gave his condolences to the Abu Malhous family which lost eight of its members in the last round of violence between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

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