In the rehashed material today, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh -- with help from Solomon and Douglas Hamilton -- writes:
In a message to remind the world of the barrier's existence, the Palestine Liberation Organisation said the wall symbolizes a "Christmas without hope" for the ancient city, where normal life is fragmented and stifled by Israel's security measures.
Or perhaps Reuters is referring to the PLO which, in its other guise as the Palestinian Authority, governs much of Judea and Samaria ("West Bank") and has been allowing the systematic persecution of Christians in Bethlehem and the disputed territories since taking control in 1994.
Reuters quotes Samir Hazboun, head of Bethlehem's Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
We have some free Christmas decorative advice for Hazboun: hang mistletoe.How can we promote Bethlehem as a holy tourism site while it is surrounded by an ugly concrete wall?
UPDATE Christmas Eve: In a poignant editorial appearing in today's Wall Street Journal, Daniel Schwammenthal offers us further insight into the suffering of Christians at the hands of Muslims in Gaza and yes, Bethlehem:
Ah yes, it's those Israeli security measures which are"stifling" normal life in the Holy Land.But even here in Jesus' birthplace, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Christians live on a knife's edge. Mr. Khoury tells me that Muslims often stand in front of the gate of the Bible College and read from the Quran to intimidate Christian students. Other Muslims like to roll out their prayer rugs right in Manger Square... Christians have only recently begun to talk about how Muslim gangs simply come and take possession of Christian-owned land while the Palestinian security services, almost exclusively staffed by Muslims, stand by. Mr. Qumsieh's own home was firebombed three years ago. The perpetrators were never caught.