Religious leaders and Palestinian officials attended midnight mass at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem delivered a message of unity. But the violence in the Palestinian territories shows no sign of stopping.
Recent violence sparked by US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has put a damper on Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem. Still, scores of people took part in Christmas Eve festivities.
For Christians, Bethlehem is a pilgrimage site, but its inhabitants live in fear of rising political tensions after President Donald Trump announced that the US will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cautioned the incoming Trump administration against plans to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Abbas was speaking at the Vatican after an audience with Pope Francis.
Israelis and Palestinians will be closely watching every move US Vice President Mike Pence makes during his two-day visit to Jerusalem. Will his presence stoke tensions even more? Tania Krämer reports from Jerusalem.
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