Thousands of Palestinians, tourists flock to Bethlehem for Christmas
BETHLEHEM, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Thousands of Palestinians and tourists flocked into the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Monday to mark Christmas in the "little town" where many believe Jesus Christ was born.
This year's celebration carries special significance for many Palestinians, coming after 12 months in which their status on the world stage has been significantly upgraded.
Just last month, the United Nations granted them the status of non-member observer state, and earlier this year they won their first Unesco World Heritage Site designation - for Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.
The designation also included part of a pilgrimage route in Bethlehem, along which the traditional Christmas procession headed by the Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal marched on Monday.