BETHLEHEM, Palestine  

Orthodox Christians are preparing to celebrate Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

“Despite the Israeli restrictions, Bethlehem is getting ready to celebrate Christmas with joy and happiness,” Geryes Qumsiyeh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Tourism Ministry, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Since early morning, work was in full swing by Palestinian scout groups to hold shows in front of the Church of the Nativity in celebration of the festival.

“The Christmas message is to remain happy in spite of pain and suffering in the birthplace of Jesus because of [the Israeli] occupation,” Qusmiyeh said.

Read more: Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem