The southern West Bank city of Bethlehem is preparing its annual Christmas celebrations, says deputy mayor of the city Issam Juha.
A giant Christmas tree will be lit in the city's Manger Square on December 1st marking the official beginning of Christmas celebrations, he told Ma'an Monday evening.
The municipal council of Bethlehem is seeking to secure as much participation from civil society organizations as possible this year. Officials and clerics from Palestine and all over the world are expected to join Bethlehem’s Christmas celebrations, added the deputy mayor.
Palestinian and international bands will play different religious and cultural performances reflecting on this year's slogan of "achieving justice and peace," said Juha.
In addition, a Christmas market will be held related to Christmas from Dec. 1-8.
More cooperation and coordination is expected this year between Bethlehem's municipal council and civil society organizations and government institutions.
The municipal council will provide buses for free to transport residents of nearby Beit Jala and Beit Sahour to the Manger Square to when the Christmas tree is lit and when the patriarchal convoy enters the city on Christmas day, added the deputy mayor of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem police will be on high alert during Christmas, says Bethlehem police's public information officer Luay Zreiqat.
Police, he said, have prepared a plan to keep order in the city, but this year's security procedures will not see many roads closed to traffic.
"We will not militarize the celebration because it's a religious occasion and we would like to show the world that our society is civilized."
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