Christmas at ground zero: Bethlehem prays for peace (VIDEO)
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, entered the holy city in a colorful procession, accompanied by Palestinian Scouts playing bagpipes and a man dressed as Saint Nicholas.
Earlier, in a pre-Christmas address in Jerusalem, Twal – who is the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman – expressed concern about the fate of Christians after the upheavals sweeping the Middle East. “May the Lord bless you, bless us, and give us a new year full of blessing, full of peace… here in the Middle East," he said.
He is to lead a midnight Christmas mass in Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity.
Bethlehem is located just a few miles from Jerusalem inside the West Bank, a part of the Palestinian Territories under a decades-long Israeli military occupation. The feast was guarded by both local Palestinian police and Israeli troops at the border.