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Palestinians take to the streets to protest Bahrain workshop, Trump peace plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declares major protests across the occupied Palestinian territories next week to coincide with the Bahrain workshop.

By Ahmad Al-Bazz

Dozens of Palestinian activists and political representatives marched against the U.S. “Deal of the Century” and the upcoming Bahrain workshop in Ramallah city center on Saturday.

Protesters held Palestinian flags and signs condemning the American administration and the involvement of Arab countries — especially Bahrain, for hosting the workshop.

Scheduled for June 25-26 in Manama City, the event is billed as a gathering to boost the Palestinian economy.

“Peace comes by ending the occupation, not by illusions of economic development,” one of the signs read.

While marching, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa al-Barghouthi, said that “the whole Deal of the Century is nothing but an effort to liquidate Palestinian rights.” He added that the plan is an attempt “to legitimize illegal Israeli actions on the ground and violations of international law.”

Following the protest, Fatah, the Palestinian party of President Mahmoud Abbas, declared major actions and protests set to take place across the occupied Palestinian territories on June 24, 25 and 26, coinciding with the Bahrain workshop.

In a joint press statement released last week, Palestinian political parties stated that actions will be organized in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and in Palestinian refugee camps in the diaspora. “We refuse any solution that doesn’t consider fundamental Palestinian rights, including the right of return for refugees,” the parties noted in the statement.

Trump introduced the “ultimate” Israel-Palestine peace deal in an interview with the Wall Street Journal during his presidential campaign in 2016. The details of the deal are yet to be announced. However, several media outlets have speculated that the plan would propose more autonomy for the Palestinian Authority in some parts of the West Bank, and allow for the expansion of Gaza by way of a lease of an area of land from Egypt.

In early May, Israel Hayom, the Israeli daily owned by Netanyahu’s patron, Sheldon Adelson, leaked details of a document that was circulating among members of Israel’s Foreign Ministry alleged to be part of the “deal of the century.” According to this unverified draft, which was translated and republished in Palestinian media outlets as well, Israel, the PLO and Hamas will sign a tripartite agreement to establish a Palestinian state called ‘The New Palestine,’ on land in the West Bank...

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WATCH: Palestinians 'Dare to Dream' as Eurovision event in Israel nears

This year’s Eurovision slogan is ‘Dare to Dream.’ Activestills asked Palestinians what their dreams are.

Israel will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest this year, with some 200 million people expected to watch from around the world. The event, which will take place from May 14 to May 18 in Tel Aviv, falls around Nakba Day, during which Palestinians remember the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled and fled, and over 500 villages that were destroyed, in the 1948 war.

In a play on the competition’s slogan for this year, “Dare to Dream,” Activestills asked Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza about their life and dreams while living under Israeli occupation. Some said they dream of becoming swimmers, or ballet dancers; all speakers said they strive to live a normal life, in safety, without oppression.

A second video in the series focuses on the reality of the Israeli occupation and apartheid. It’s introduced as a “postcard” from Palestine — a reference to the short clips that proceed each participating country’s performance.

“Everything they will show you is very far away from the reality we live in Palestine,” says one of the interviewees, on the backdrop of police detaining a Palestinian child, then right wing protestors assaulting a cameraman.

Other scenes include the demolition of a Palestinian home, Palestinians waiting in long lines at a checkpoint, and a bulldozer uprooting an olive tree.

“This competition will take place on a confiscated land, whose indigenous owners were expelled from,” says another speaker in the video.

Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have called on Eurovision fans to boycott the event, accusing Israel of “artwashing” its occupation of millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza through music.

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PHOTOS: Tens of thousands protest along the Gaza fence

Israeli troops kill three and wound hundreds more in the protests marking a year since the Great March of Return protests began, and coming as cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas come to a head.

By Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org

GAZA CITY — At least 40,000 Palestinians protested at several locations along the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip on Saturday, marking Land Day and one year since the start of the Great March of Return protests.

Israeli troops used live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, and tear gas to try and disperse demonstrators who approached the fence. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, Israeli snipers killed three 17-year-old boys during the protests, and more than 300 others were wounded, including five who were in critical condition.

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Adham Amara, 17, was shot and killed east of Gaza City, and Bilal Mahmoud Najjar and Tamer Aby el-Khair, both 17, were shot in east of Khan Yunis and died later at the hospital. A fourth man, Mohammad Saed, was killed along the fence before the protests began Saturday morning.

 

The return march protests began as a mass movement last year, demanding to fulfill the right of return for Palestinian refugees and an end to the Israeli siege. Israeli snipers and sharpshooters killed over 195 participants since March 30, 2018, including 68 in one day alone.

Land Day, March 30th, commemorates how in 1976 Israeli security forces responded to a general strike and mass protest of Palestinian citizens of Israel by killing six and wounding some 100 others.

 

One woman at the protests on Friday, who gave her name only as Um Ahmed, 42, told +972 Magazine said she wanted the world to know Gaza will not be broken by anyone. “I am here today to demand my right to return to the land occupied by Israel. We will resist the occupier, even they kill us all,” she said, adding, “my hope is that the siege will end and that we could live in peace.”

The protests came as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, were said to be nearing “understandings” about a cease-fire following a tense several weeks that saw rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Israeli bombing raids across Gaza. Hamas’ demands reportedly focused on easing the blockade, while one of Israel’s...

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PHOTOS: 24 hours of destruction in Gaza and southern Israel

Israel and Palestinian militants exchanged rocket and missile fire on Monday night, following a botched Israeli commando incursion into the Strip a day earlier. By Tuesday evening, the two sides had announced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, but not before at least seven people, all of them Palestinian, were killed, and many others wounded in both Israel and Gaza.

By Mohammed Zaanoun and Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

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PHOTOS: Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in West Bank villages

Israeli bulldozers demolished nine Palestinian structures in the West Bank villages of Al-Hadidiya and Al-Jiftlik late last week.

By Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Israeli bulldozers demolished nine Palestinian structures in two communities in the Jordan Valley last Thursday.

The structures belong to three Palestinian families who live in Area C in the West Bank village of Al-Hadidiya in the northern Jordan Valley and the town of Al-Jiftlik in the central West Bank. Palestinian communities living in Area C are under full Israeli military control. The residents were previously notified by the Israeli authorities that their structures lack the necessary building permits, which are often nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain (between 2010 and 2014 the Civil Administration granted just 1.5 percent of requests).

Omar Besharat, a resident of Al-Hadidya, told +972 that the army arrived at 8:30 a.m. and asked the residents to evacuate their belongings, adding that he had received no prior notification from the authorities. The army demolished Besharat’s home, along with five other structures, including several animal pens.

This was the fifth time since 1982 that Besharat’s structures have been demolished. He had been living in the house since 2012. “Last year I was asked to submit some documents to the Israeli authorities in order to obtain a permit. I did so, but my application was rejected,” Besharat said.

An hour after the demolition of Besharat’s home, the bulldozers headed south to the town of Al-Jiftlik, where trhey demolished three structures belonging to two families. According to the residents, the families were notified of the imminent demolition in July.

The demolitions in the Jordan Valley raises the number of total Israeli demolitions over the past week to four, with the previous ones taking place in Masafer Yatta near Hebron, and Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, where homeowners demolished their own homes to avoid paying the demolition costs.

Muataz Besharat, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities in the Jordan Valley, told +972, “What is being done by the occupation in the Jordan Valley and Area C in general is very clear. The aim is to transfer the Palestinian residents.”

According to the latest OCHA report, a total of 29 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by Israeli authorities in September, leading to the displacement of 51 people. The report indicates that seven of those structures were donated by the EU and other donors, and that the September demolitions were below the...

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PHOTOS: Life inside Gaza's Return March protest camp

This is what happens at the protest camp when the IDF isn’t shooting — and when the world isn’t looking.

Photos by Mohammed Zaanoun (Activestills.org), text by Mohammed Zaanoun and +972 Magazine Staff

On Fridays, the Gaza tent encampment near the Israeli border fence is a deadly zone. Israel snipers have opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators for two consecutive weeks, killing more than 30 people and wounding over 1,000. But during the middle of the week, the protest camp, part of the Great Return March, is something entirely different — a peaceful, colorful staging ground for a range different activities that draws entire families, located a mere 400 meters from the Israeli border.

Mohammed Zaanoun, an Activestills photographer, visited the protest camp east of Shujaiya, a neighborhood devastated by Israeli bombing during the 2014 war. Several hundred people were there to participate in the activities, from dancing and children’s games to cooking and even pop-up barbershops. At night, the women go home while some of the men remain in the tents.

Um Yousef Lubbad was evicted in 1948 from her home in Al Majdal, where the Israeli city of Ashkelon now stands. She lives in the Gaza Strip and is married with children — 15 family members in total.

“Today we came to the Return Camp to emphasize our right to return to the land the Zionists took from us,” she said. “I wish I could return to Al Majdal.”

“Today we are making Msaffan, which is made from flour, olive oil, and some special spices,” Um Yousef continued. “It is a traditional dish from Al Majdal.”

 

“70 members [of] our family came to the Return Camp to join our people,” Um Youssef said. “We will keep coming here to the camp till we achieve our goals and return to our land.”

The family-friendly activities, food and drink, dances and sports at protest camp have rarely appeared in reports about the Return March, which tend to focus on the violence and the dramatic images of burning tires and Israeli snipers. Reality in the protest camp is far different from what Israeli media claims it is. The protest organizers, and even Hamas, stress that this is an unarmed, popular protest against the occupation and for the Right of Return.

Roughly 70 percent of the population of Gaza are refugees — meaning they or their parents or grandparents fled or were expelled from towns,...

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Hundreds mark 13 years of protests against the wall in Bil’in

The village that managed to unite the world behind the spirit of nonviolent Palestinian protest marks more than a decade of not only tear gas, night raids and tragedy, but also co-resistance and victories in the struggle against settlements, the separation barrier and the occupation.

By Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

Some 500 demonstrators marked 13 years of struggle against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday. The demonstrators — Palestinians, Israelis, and international solidarity activists — marched toward the wall, where Israeli border police fired tear gas at them. Several activists suffered from tear gas inhalation, and one international activist was arrested.

The demonstrations in Bil’in have taken place every Friday since February 2005, when Israeli bulldozers first arrived to start clearing olive trees to make room for the wall. Following the weekly prayer, demonstrators march from the center of the village to the separation barrier, built on the village’s land. The demonstrators, some of whom were dressed as characters from the movie “Avatar” or as Native Americans, marched toward the wall alongside a tractor carrying a massive “13,” decorated with pictures from the history of the struggle in Bil’in. Upon reaching the separation wall, several activists attempted to climb it, prompting the arrival of the border police who fired tear gas directly at the demonstrators. Among those injured by the tear gas barrage was also a journalist.

 

When the wall was first built, it expropriated some 1,950 dunams of the village’s agricultural land. Following years of struggle and a Supreme Court ruling, the wall was repositioned in 2011, returning some 600 dunams of land back to the village, but over 1,000 remain on the other side of the wall, near the ultra-orthodox settlement of Modi’in Ilit. Bil’in’s residents continue to demand the return of all of their land.

Winning back hundreds of dunams of land made Bil’in into a worldwide symbol of popular resistance to the separation barrier, settlements, and military rule in the occupied territories. But the village also suffered great losses. Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister directly at the chest of Bassem Abu Rahma, killing him. His sister, Jawaher, suffocated to death from tear gas inhalation. Thousands of protesters have required medical attention from Israeli crowd control measures over the decade-plus of demonstrations and hundreds have been arrested.

 

The International Court of Justice in the Hague...

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Refugees hold 'slave auction' outside Knesset to protest deportation

Israel plans to begin deporting tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers within weeks. Activists hope the action will raise awareness of what awaits them.

By Oren Ziv

A group of Eritrean asylum seekers and Israeli refugee advocates staged a mock slave auction outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, while a conference on government plans to begin mass deportations of asylum seekers took place inside Wednesday morning.

Around 10 asylum seekers stood on make-shift auction blocks made of milk crates, while an auctioneer called out, “get your slaves, slaves for half price,” over a megaphone. A single member of Knesset, Dov Khenin, came outside to support the asylum seekers, and called Israel’s refugee policy inhumane and unacceptable.

Israeli officials have stated that starting in a matter of weeks, tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel will face a stark choice: indefinite imprisonment or agree to be sent to Rwanda or Uganda. Asylum seekers who have left Israel for the two countries in recent years have not received any legal status there, and faced dangerous conditions and choices, including heading toward Europe through Libya, where human trafficking and other types of violence is a constant danger.

Vowing to choose prison over deportation, Awad, one of the Eritrean asylum seekers who took part in the protest action as a would-be slave on the auction block, appealed to Israelis to listen and learn. “Before you deport us let’s sit and talk about our problem. Learn about what the problems are in Eritrea,” said Awad, who asked not to use his last name. “We are refugees, not infiltrators, not work migrants — we are refugees. We will stay here, in prison.”

Human rights and refugee advocacy organizations in Israel and abroad have condemned the Israeli government’s plan and pledged to fight the deportations.

“The asylum seekers that are deported from Israel end up in Libya — end up being sold. This is not just an idea, this is what happens to them actually once they are deported from Israel,” said Sigal Avivi, an Israeli refugee rights activist who helped organize the action outside the Knesset on Wednesday. “Their lives are in danger. We came today to the Knesset to reinforce that message.”

A similar mock slave auction was held outside Tel Aviv’s main shopping mall, Dizengoff Center, a few weeks earlier.

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Nur Tamimi upon her release from prison: 'I have no regrets'

Hours after she is released from military prison, Nur, who was arrested along with her cousin Ahed following the release of a now-viral video, speaks about her arrest, her time in prison, and why she isn’t deterred.

By Oren Ziv

“It’s normal, it happens every day in Palestine, that soldiers enter our village and our homes. But this time, the Israeli media made a big deal about the story and it got a lot of shares on social media,” Nur Tamimi said in an interview with +972 Magazine, hours after she was released from prison last Friday. Tamimi, 21, from Nabi Saleh, was arrested nearly two weeks ago following the publication of a video showing her and her cousin, Ahed, attempting to push soldiers off of the porch of the Tamimi family’s home. Ahed, 16, and her mother, Nariman, have been denied bail and remain in prison as they await trial.

On Thursday around midnight, after the Israeli military court of appeals rejected the prosecution’s appeal against her release, Nur was taken from the Sharon Prison to the Jabara checkpoint, and then to her home, where her family was waiting for her.

I spoke with Nur on Friday morning at her home, where her relatives, supporters, and Palestinian media had gathered. Among the visitors who came to support Nur was Mohammed Tamimi, 15, whom Israeli soldiers shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet an hour or so before the now-famous video of Ahed and Nur was filmed. The weather was stormy, and so there wasn’t a protest in the village like most Fridays. Nevertheless, Israeli soldiers were deployed at the entrance to Nabi Saleh — presumably to remind the residents what would happen if someone dared step outside despite the rain.

“It was not an easy arrest because it was my first, but in jail I met many women who for many years have been fighting for their day-to-day survival there,” she said. “The most difficult experience was being in the prisoner transport vehicle. They would take us from the Sharon Prison at two in the morning and bring us back at 11 at night. We spent most of the time before and after the hearings in those vehicles, where it’s very cold and there’s no access to food, water, or restrooms.” Ahed was held in a cell separate from the other jailed Tamimi women because she is minor. Nur...

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WATCH: Israeli troops train assault rifles on medics and journalists

After arresting and wounding a Palestinian protester, Israeli Border Police attack medics who try to reach the detained man, as well as the photographers covering the arrest.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Israeli Border Police officers trained their assault rifles on medics and journalists during a protest at the DCO checkpoint on the outskirts of Ramallah last Friday, December 22. Since Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, the checkpoint has been the site of near-daily protests and clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

The video shows the area around the main square, where Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian demonstrator. During the arrest, Israeli troops beat and wound the Palestinian man. A large group of photographers covering the protest moved in to document the incident, while several medics attempted to reach the man who had been arrested. Even though there were no protesters around during the time of the arrest, Israeli forces released stun grenades and used their weapons to hit the journalists and the medics.

One of the medics says he was hit in the chest and then shot with a rubber-coated bullet from close range (the shooting does not appear in the video). Several minutes after the video, Israeli forces took the man they had arrested into their jeep and drove away.

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The protest began after the Friday noontime prayer, when around 100 Palestinian youth attempted to block the road leading to the checkpoint by burning tires. The army fired tear gas and started moving towards the protesters. At some point, a small group of Israeli Border Police managed to get close to the protesters from the side, firing tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets at them.

For three consecutive weeks, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank have protested Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcement that the U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Israeli forces killed have killed at least eight Palestinians, including double-amputee Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29, and wounded hundreds more since the protests began.

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Israeli army court orders Ahed Tamimi imprisoned for five more days

The Palestinian teenager from Nabi Saleh was arrested after being filmed confronting Israeli soldiers outside her home. Israeli forces have since arrested her mother and an another relative; her father Bassem received a summons while in court.

By Oren Ziv and Yael Marom

The Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court extended by five days the detention of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen who was arrested for confronting Israeli soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Video of the confrontation made headlines around the world. Police had asked the court to extend Ahed’s detention by 10 days.

Attorney Gaby Lasky, who is representing Ahed Tamimi, argued that even if the police intend to continue their investigation against her client, it is unnecessary to keep Ahed in prison.

“The police claim this is a unique incident carried out shamelessly and spitefully. But obviously neither shamelessness nor spite justify imprisonment,” Lasky said. “Israeli hilltop youth (settlers) have engaged in similar behavior and the police and the army chose not to arrest them or to consider their behavior such that requires keeping a minor under arrest.”

Lasky also criticized the manner in which Tamimi was arrested, as well as the request by the police to carry out the hearing behind closed doors. “Given that the incident in question occurred during the day, it would have been possible to carry out the arrest during the time of the incident or a few hours later. Instead, the army and the police chose to carry out an illegal, offensive, nighttime raid.”

“It is unacceptable that the military authorities decided to video-tape the arrest of a minor and send the clip to media outlets as punishment,” Lasky said of the state’s request to hold the hearing behind closed doors. “Now the police are suddenly worried about protecting the rights of a minor […] It seems that this is all to prevent anyone from seeing what happens inside the courtroom.”

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Israeli Border Police officers arrested Ahed in a night-time raid on the Tamimi family home in the early  hours of Tuesday. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested while accompanying Ahed to an Israeli police station.

Tuesday...

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WATCH: Israeli troops stop Palestinian would-be suicide bomber

Israeli soldiers shoot and kill a Palestinian man wearing an explosive belt during clashes at a checkpoint near Ramallah. Three more Palestinians are killed during protests across the occupied territories.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Israeli Border Police officers shot and wounded a Palestinian wearing an explosive belt during clashes at the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah on Friday. The man, who was standing alongside the journalists while filming the demonstration on his phone, ran over to the officers and stabbed one of them with a small knife, wounding him lightly, upon which the officers opened fire and seriously wounded the man.

As he hit the ground, the man revealed a suicide vest strapped to his body underneath a large coat, causing the officers to retreat. As opposed to a statement put out by Israeli police, the attacker never wore a press vest to try and blend in with the journalists.

After collapsing, Palestinian medics evacuated the unconscious man to the ambulance. The soldiers prevented the ambulance from driving to the hospital, and removed him from the vehicle. After several minutes of arguing, the medics carried the man on a stretcher to a nearby private vehicle, which drove him toward Ramallah.

The officer who was stabbed was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Palestinian attacker is in critical condition.

The attack comes as daily clashes have raged across the occupied territories, following President Trump declared the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. Two Palestinian protesters were killed by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the Gaza buffer zone on Friday, a week after Israel killed two other Palestinians during last Friday’s demonstration the border between Israel and the Strip. Another Palestinian was shot and killed during protests in the Palestinian village of Anata in northern Jerusalem.

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Since the start of the protests, hundreds of Palestinians across the West Bank have been detained, and hundreds of others have been wounded by live fire, rubber bullets, and tear gas. Meanwhile, the Israeli army conducted dozens of night raids, arresting top Hamas members, and has established over 100 flying checkpoints across the West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force and Palestinian militants exchanged...

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PHOTOS: How the two Jerusalems marked Trump's embassy speech

While Israeli West Jerusalem celebrates, Palestinian East Jerusalem protests — with lights.

Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Text by +972 Magazine Staff

In the minutes leading up to U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing his intention to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv, authorities in East and West Jerusalem used light in starkly different ways to mark the occasion.

The Jerusalem Municipality projected American and Israeli flags onto the walls of the Old City, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Inside those walls, at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Jordanian Waqf, which oversees the holy Muslim site, shut off all the lights that normally illuminate one of Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmarks — the golden dome atop the mosque.

Ironically, both displays took place in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas both called for several days of rage to protest the decision. In the hour or so after Trump’s speech, many Palestinians in the Old City also turned off their lights in protest, as can be seen in this tweet by Quds News Network.

In Bethlehem, meanwhile, municipal authorities reportedly shut off the lights on the massive Christmas tree erected in Manger Square each year.

 

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