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Pictures | Fri Dec 23, 2011 | 11:25am EST

Life in Bethlehem

<p>A Christian worshipper prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 15, 2011. 

REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman </p>

A Christian worshipper prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 15, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

A Christian worshipper prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 15, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

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<p>A clergy member carries chairs in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 18, 2011. 

 REUTERS/Darren Whiteside </p>

A clergy member carries chairs in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

A clergy member carries chairs in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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<p>Greek Bishop Theophiliktos leads the morning mass a day after Orthodox Christmas at the Church of Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

Greek Bishop Theophiliktos leads the morning mass a day after Orthodox Christmas at the Church of Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Greek Bishop Theophiliktos leads the morning mass a day after Orthodox Christmas at the Church of Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>Worshippers light candles in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 18, 2011. 

REUTERS/Darren Whiteside </p>

Worshippers light candles in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Worshippers light candles in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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<p>A worshipper places her hands on a painting of Jesus in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during her visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A worshipper places her hands on a painting of Jesus in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during her visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad more

A worshipper places her hands on a painting of Jesus in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during her visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>A tourist kisses a picture of the Virgin Mary as she visits the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 16, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A tourist kisses a picture of the Virgin Mary as she visits the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 16, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A tourist kisses a picture of the Virgin Mary as she visits the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 16, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>A worshipper prays in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas, December 23, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A worshipper prays in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas, December 23, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A worshipper prays in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during a visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas, December 23, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>A worshipper prays in the grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis</p>

A worshipper prays in the grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

A worshipper prays in the grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

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<p>Catholic worshippers pray in the grotto, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus, in the Church of the Nativity at the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 22, 2006. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte </p>

Catholic worshippers pray in the grotto, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus, in the Church of the Nativity at the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 22, 2006. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte

Catholic worshippers pray in the grotto, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus, in the Church of the Nativity at the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 22, 2006. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte

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<p>A Palestinian boy looks over to Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A Palestinian boy looks over to Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A Palestinian boy looks over to Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>East-Orthodox priests walk in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 14, 2007. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun </p>

East-Orthodox priests walk in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 14, 2007. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun

East-Orthodox priests walk in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 14, 2007. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun

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<p>A child touches a column in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A child touches a column in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A child touches a column in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>Nigerian pilgrims pray in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

Nigerian pilgrims pray in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Nigerian pilgrims pray in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>An Armenian Orthodox clergyman leads a mass in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 22, 2009. 
REUTERS/Darren Whiteside</p>

An Armenian Orthodox clergyman leads a mass in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 22, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

An Armenian Orthodox clergyman leads a mass in the Grotto, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 22, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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<p>Greek Orthodox priests clean inside the Church of Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, ahead of Orthodox Christmas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 30, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

Greek Orthodox priests clean inside the Church of Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, ahead of Orthodox Christmas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 30, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Greek Orthodox priests clean inside the Church of Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, ahead of Orthodox Christmas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 30, 2010. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>A worshipper prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas, December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A worshipper prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas, December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A worshipper prays in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas, December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal blesses a statue of the baby Jesus inside in the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 25, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside </p>

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal blesses a statue of the baby Jesus inside in the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 25, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal blesses a statue of the baby Jesus inside in the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 25, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

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<p>A U.S. security officer stands in the Church of the Nativity ahead of a visit by President George W. Bush in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 8, 2008. 

REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun </p>

A U.S. security officer stands in the Church of the Nativity ahead of a visit by President George W. Bush in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 8, 2008. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun

A U.S. security officer stands in the Church of the Nativity ahead of a visit by President George W. Bush in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, January 8, 2008. REUTERS/Nayef Hashlamoun

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<p>A nun walks through the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A nun walks through the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A nun walks through the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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<p>A pilgrim holds lit candles in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 23, 2009. 

REUTERS/Ammar Awad </p>

A pilgrim holds lit candles in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 23, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A pilgrim holds lit candles in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 23, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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