BETHLEHEM, West Bank — “The city would have been crowded with tourists this time of year,” said Elias al-Arja, president of the Palestinian Hotel Association. “Streets, shops, hotels, restaurants would all be packed with tourists, but this year, there is no one. It is a catastrophe.”
Every March and April, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, comes to life as Christians from around the world flock there for anticipation of Easter. This year will be different for the historic West Bank city, which has been under lockdown since March 6, after the first cases of COVID-19 emerged in Palestine.