Gee whiz, AP and everybody had all those great Christian pilgrims “flock” to Bethlehem headlines (although some of the headlines were above articles which did mumble quietly that 30,000 was a fraction of the number that came for Christmas before the 2000 intifada began). From World Net Daily:
With Christmas services here drawing far fewer tourists than in the 1990s and the town’s Christian population now at an all-time low, many world leaders and hundreds of major media outlets this week blamed Israel for Bethlehem’s decline — often citing false information — while a simple talk with the town’s residents reveals a drastically different picture. They say Muslim persecution has been keeping Christians away.
“All this talk about Israel driving Christians out and causing pain is nonsense,” a Bethlehem Christian community leader told WND. “You want to know what is at play here, just come throughout the year and see the intimidation from the Muslims. They have burned down our stores, built mosques in front of our churches, stole our real estate and took away our rights. Women have been raped and abducted. So don’t tell me about Israel. It’s the Muslims.”