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I am seeking advice on celebrating Cristmas in the city of Bethlehem (Palestine). I am particularly interested in the activities that take place for the occasion. Can somebody recommend masses to be attended? What can be done ouside masses? Furthermore, I suppose that there will be plenty pf pilgrims coming there for the occasion. How difficult will it be to find an accomodation?

When talking about Christmas I have the "Western" flavour in mind. However, I would also be interested in reading tips on the "Eastern" flavour.

Also note that I would prefer to travel independently. Hooking up with a group or joining an organised ride is something I am not really fond of.

I am aware of the fact that there can be safety issues when traveling to Israel and the West Bank. Note that right know I do not seek advice on these topics.

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(off topic comments removed as explained yesterday, if anyone is wondering where they went. Happy to continue any discussions in the chat room) – Mark Mayo Dec 5 '11 at 10:01

It would be safer and easier to find accommodation in Israel, and look for an organized ride to Bethlehem, instead of being in the PA areas on your own. Although Bethlehem is (relative to other Palestinian cities) safe for foreigners and the Palestinians are making special efforts during the Christmas season, it's better not to take extra chances. Also, the accommodations in Bethlehem itself are very limited, and you'll have many more places to stay at in Jerusalem (and I'm guessing you'll want to visit it anyway once you're there).

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Thanks for you reply. I would have preferred to travel indepentently. As far as the security issues are concerned, I am aware of the fact that the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories requires some attention. – user766 Dec 4 '11 at 15:02
@lejohn - I wouldn't travel independently in the Palestinian areas. I value my life for more. But its up to you of course. – littleadv Dec 5 '11 at 9:23

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