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Gaza's Christians blocked from travel to Bethlehem

Israeli authorities have refused to grant many Christians in the Gaza Strip exit permits to celebrate the Christmas holidays in Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Greek Orthodox Archbishop Alexios kisses a Palestinian child dressed up as Santa Claus during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Gaza City December 22, 2018. Picture taken December 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - RC15B4F1FD50

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinian Christians in Gaza are feeling a damper on the Christmas spirit this year as Israeli authorities have blocked many from receiving exit permits to celebrate the Christmas holidays in Bethlehem in the West Bank.

While Western Christians celebrate, following the Gregorian calendar, Dec. 25 of every year, Eastern churches — to which the majority of Palestinian Christians belong — follow the Eastern calendar and celebrate on Jan. 7.

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