- Bethlehem is only several hundred meters from southern Jerusalem. On December
21, 1995, Israel officially handed Bethlehem over to Palestinian rule.
- Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin rejected the request of the city’s Christian mayor,
Elias Freij, who urged him to refrain from handing over the city to the Palestinian
Authority because he was concerned about the fate of the Christians in
Bethlehem. Today, Christians comprise only 20% of the city’s population.
- Israeli security forces have entered Bethlehem repeatedly since September 2000.
Before the IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA) entered Bethlehem, Jerusalem was
struck by waves of terror emanating from the Palestinian-controlled city that killed
and wounded hundreds of Israelis.
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