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Christmas tree lit in Bethlehem
Published Sunday 16/12/2012 (updated) 18/12/2012 17:17
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A balloon vendor stands in front of a Christmas tree after it was lit
during a ceremony outside the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem,
Dec. 15, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A giant Christmas tree was lit on Saturday evening in Bethlehem’s Manger Square marking the beginning of Christmas celebrations in the West Bank city.

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad attended the ceremony, along with the mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun, the governor Abdul-Fattah Hamayil, the minister of tourism Rula Maaya and a large number of Christian clerics, Palestinian dignitaries and dozens of spectators.

Fayyad said he was welcoming the ceremony as a prime minister of the state of Palestine for the first time, after Palestine won non-member state recognition at the UN General Assembly last month.

“This is not the end, but rather the beginning of our efforts to obtain a state, bring an end to the tyranny and restore our land,” Fayyad told the crowds.
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