The annual Christmas display in Bethlehem has been cancelled for the first time in decades as a tribute to Hamas to those who've died amidst the ongoing conflict with Israel.
Palestinian authorities announced the decision to forbid festive decorations and the traditional Christmas tree from Manger Square - a location associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.
The last cancellation occurred in 1988 due to the first Intifada.
Speaking to The Telegraph, authorities from the Bethlehem Municipality said the Christmas displays had been scrapped “in honour of the martyrs and in solidarity with our people in Gaza”.
They continued: “Our people in Gaza are being massacred and killed in cold blood. Therefore, it is not appropriate at all to have such festivities while there is a massacre happening in Gaza and attacks in the West Bank”.
“This year, the situation in Bethlehem is unprecedented, and the mood and vibes are extremely sad, and that is exactly what the world should see and realise that these are not normal circumstances,” they added.
“Bethlehem should send out its own message of condolence and mourning.”
Bethlehem typically transforms into a bustling destination for tourists leading up to Christmas, as Christians embark on pilgrimages to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, the oldest continuously used worship site in Christianity.
However, since Hamas launched its attack in Israel on 7th October, the town has experienced a notable decrease in activity.