The Separation Wall severing Jerusalem from Bethlehem is seen on December 17, 2023, a year when Christian Palestinian leaders have called off public Christmas celebrations in the shadow of Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. Divided, deserted, and wary, the Holy Land in 2023 is a mournful place, a far cry from the usual hustle and bustle and joy of the Christmas season in the birthplace of Jesus. The throngs of foreign tourists normally in evidence each holiday season are nowhere to be seen, and local residents stay close to home in the climate of fear induced by emergency regulations authorizing intrusive searches and seizures with potentially severe consequences. The holiday is marked this year with religious ceremonies only.
This photo, taken from the Jerusalem side of the wall, perfectly captures the mood of the moment in the Holy Land, December 2023.