Christmas Tree in Bethlehem Draws Large Crowds; Abbas Lands in Rome

Palestinian sources estimate the crowd of observers watching the annual lighting of the Christmas in Manger Square in Bethlehem on Saturday night to have been in the thousands. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was absent from this year’s festivities in advance of a trip to Rome, left the hosting duties to Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah. Services were held in the Church of the Nativity prior to the ceremony. On Sunday, Abbas arrived in Rome for talks with Italian President Sergio Matarella and other officials. He is escorted by a contingent of senior PA officials.

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