Tourist rally in Bethlehem reconnects it to the world
Palestine, Economics, 9/29/1997
Some four thousand tourists from 83 different countries held a mass rally in the center of Bethlehem on the West Bank as part of special events that have started in the town in preparation for the year 2000 celebrations.
The significance of the rally stemmed from the fact that over the past two months, Israeli troops had prevented scores of foreign tourists from entering the town of Bethlehem saying it was a closed military zone. The closure clamped on the town was part of the total siege that Israel imposed on all the Palestine National Authority areas following the July 30th suicide bombing attack in Mahaneh Yehuda market in West Jerusalem. When Israel took a number of measures to ease the closure, another suicide attack occurred in Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in West Jerusalem on September 4th and since then, all the PNA areas have been under a tight closure.
Palestinian official sources said the tourists rally was the best answer to the Israeli measures that tried to disconnect the town of Bethlehem from the outside world for more than 45 days running, since last July's suicide bombing attack.
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