Palestinian Christians dressed up as Santa Claus for Christmas have been forbidden by Israel to enter Jerusalem as reported by Anadolu Agency.
Palestinian Christians from the West Bank , like their Muslim counterparts, can’t enter Jerusalem without special permission from the Israeli authorities.
Many now live in isolated communities that have been cut off from each other by Israel’s “separation barrier”, which runs through the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
On Monday, several Palestinian “Santa Clauses” celebrated Christmas in the city of Bethlehem, located roughly 10 kilometres south of Jerusalem and considered Jesus’s historical birthplace.
Some of them carried banners, reading, “We want a free Palestine for Christmas” and “We want a Palestine without Jewish settlements”.
Palestinian officials in Ramallah, meanwhile, say they have allowed 650 Palestinian Christians from the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip to enter the West Bank (which is partially administered by the Palestinian Authority) for Christmas.
According to a report by Palestine’s official statistics agency, more than 46,000 Palestinian Christians live in the West Bank, representing some 2 per cent of the total population.
About 3,000 Palestinian Christians are estimated to live in the Gaza Strip.