37 BC:

First (lower) pool of the Solomon pools built with an area of 9,884 square meters, average length of 190 meters, average width of 62 meters, average depth of 20 meters and a perimeter of 474 meters.

44:

Second (middle) pool of the Solomon pools built with an area of 8,200 square meters, average length of 134 meters, average width of 67 meters, average depth of 15 meters and a perimeter of 392 meters.

326:

Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, visited Bethlehem and commissioned the Church of Nativity.

386:

Saint Jerome wrote the Latin version of the Holy Bible.

637:

Caliph Omar bin el Khattab visited Bethlehem and prayed in the Church of Nativity.

1400:

Third (upper) pool of the Solomon pools built with an area of 7,930 square meters, length of 116 meters, width of 68 meters, average depth of 10 meters and a perimeter of 371 meters.

1516:

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent commissioned major improvements of the Solomon pools, their canals, and sources of water reaching Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

1630:

Building of Murad IV Citadel in the Solomon Pools area

1850:

Establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

1863:

Establishment of the Orphanage of Father Anton Belloni

1875:

Establishment of the Carmelite Convent

1890:

Establishment of the French Hospital

1892:

Establishment of the De La Salle High School

1933:

December 24:  First live broadcast of the traditional midnight Christmas Mass from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, by the BBC World Service.

1947:

Establishment of the Arab Women's Union Club in Bethlehem.

1952:

Establishment of the Caritas Baby Hospital by Father Ernest Schnidrig from Germany and Dr. Anton Dabdoub from Bethlehem.

1964:

January 6:  His Holiness Pope "Paul VI" visits Bethlehem.

1973:

Establishment of Bethlehem University

1977:

Inauguration of the Caritas Baby Hospital new building

1987:

December:  First traffic lights installed in Bethlehem at the Bab-Zqaq (junction connecting Jerusalem Hebron road north to south with Beit Jala's to the west and Paul VI Street towards Bethlehem old city to the east).  The traffic lights were operational from early December until mid-December (merely two weeks) when the Israeli occupying forces, at the beginning of the first Intifada, ordered them stopped because theses traffic lights, the Israeli occupying forces claimed then, threatened the lives of settlers coming from Jerusalem in the north and passing through Bethlehem to go to the southern settlements in the environs of Bethlehem and Hebron.  This threat they explained was caused by the settlers having to wait at the traffic lights which gave Palestinians the reason to attack the settlers with stones or fire bombs.

The traffic lights were restored in 1995 and three more traffic lights at major junctions were added when the Palestinian authority took control of the city.  The October 2001 first heavy Israeli military incursion of the city during the second Intifada, however, completely destroyed all the city's traffic lights once more.  The Bab Zqaq traffic lights were re-restored and became operational once more in February 2006.

1995:

December 24:  Bethlehem was handed over to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo accord agreements signed and agreed on by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 

December 24:  First traditional midnight Christmas Mass held at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem was attended by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

1996

December 6:  A meeting in Bethlehem called for by the initiative committee for Bethlehem 2000 is held in the city, along with organizations of the civil society, members of the local community, and Bethlehem Municipality.  The meeting called for the establishment of the Bethlehem 2000 Steering Committee to be in charge of developing and renovating the city ahead of the new millennium celebrations.

December 7:  Elias Freij, Mayor of Bethlehem and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, leaves Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem after 2 weeks of treatment.

December 8:  Jiries Bannoura, Arab Orthodox Club of Beit Sahour, maintains, for a second year in a row, the first position in the southern West Bank Chess Championship.

1999:

December:  As part of the Bethlehem 2000 festivities, Demis Roussos, the famous Greek singer, held a concert on Manger Square.  The concert was attended by over 4,000 people of Roussos' fans.  A similar event which was supposed to be held on December 7, 2000 at the Jericho Municipal Stadium, was eventually held in the old cinema in Jericho.

2000:

March 22:  His Holiness Pope "John-Paul II" visited Bethlehem and held Holy Mass in Manger Square before paying visit to the Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp, south of Bethlehem.

June:  As part of the Bethlehem 2000 festivities, George Dalaras, the famous Greek singer, held a concert on Manger Square.  The concert was attended by over 2,000 people of Dalaras' fans.

2005:

November 9: Launch of the Open Bethlehem Project which aims at marketing and promoting Bethlehem internationally as a tourist destination after 5 years of economic stagnation.

2006:

February:  The Bab-Zqaq traffic lights were re-restored and became operational once more in February 2006 after having been destroyed during the October 2001 Israeli military incursion and before that in December 1987 two weeks after they had been installed in the city for the first time.

February 24: The Americans' Friends Services Committee (AFSC), a Noble Prize winner in human rights, nominates Ghassan Andoni from Beit Sahour and Jeff Helper for the 2006 Noble Peace Prize.  Professor Andoni, who is a Physics lecturer at Bir Zeit University, established the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement in 1988 and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).  Professor Helper is an Anthropologist and an activist against the Vietnam War.  He moved to Israel in 1973 and in 1997 he established the Israeli Committee against Home Demolitions.

February 23:  Nathalie Handal, poet, writer and playwright, was hosted by the International Center of Bethlehem (ICB) for an evening of poetry reading of her own work (See picture below)

February 26: St. Joseph School in Bethlehem held a "Super Star" singing contest with the participation of 16 of its students under the supervision of their teacher, Mr. Husam Sa'ad, and the accompaniment of the band Lamar.  The contest took place at the Catholic Action Club in Bethlehem.

February/March: In their recent regional tour to Egypt and Jordan, Al Hara Theatre Group from Beit Jala held 25 performances of the play Hanin Al Bahr in Egypt (Cairo, Alexandria, Mina, and Al Si'id) and 22 performances in Jordan (Amman, the Palestinian refugee camps, and other localities).  It has to be noted that the play Hanin Al Bahr received the Best Theatrical Performance Award during the Child Festival in Romania in 2005.

March:  Nisreen George Zeineh Rishmawi, resident of Beit Sahour, daughter of George and Ka'inat Zeineh, sister of Isa and Nader, was promoted to District Attorney for the Bethlehem Court.

March:  Ma'an News Network, a Bethlehem-based independent Palestinian news agency on the Internet (est. 2003), became the first Palestinian news station to broadcast solely on the Internet with news presented in Arabic, English, French, and Hebrew.

March:  The first exhibition of the Palestinian Modern Art Museum was held in New York City.  Organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, the exhibition will display the works of Palestinian artists from Palestine and elsewhere in the world.  In addition to artist Mustafa Hallaj and Suleiman Mansour, Bethlehem artist Emily Jasir will portray a documentary entitled "Through Surda" depicting the hardships that Palestinians have to go through while crossing Israeli checkpoints to attend to their daily needs.

March 6:  The Annual Book Exhibition, held at Terra Sancta Boy's High School in Bethlehem, was inaugurated by the Latin Parish Priest, Amjad Sabara, and the Head of the Bethlehem Directorate of Education, Mr. Abdallah Shakarneh.

March 9:  The Beit Jala Municipal Council and The Mayor of Beit Jala Eng. Raji Zeidan welcomed a delegation from the American Consulate in Jerusalem who visited the Beit Jala Public Library and donated some books to the library which was established in rented building in the city paid by donations from the Pontifical Mission.

March 10:  The Jenin group "Dabkeh for Folkloric Arts" performed at Bethlehem University in its attempt to revive and spread the Palestinian heritage and to reinforce the originality of the Palestinians' heritage.

March 15:  Monsignor Boutros Al Twal, Head of the Bishops at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem is appointed President of Bethlehem University by the Apostolic Chair.  This post was held initially by the late Monsignor Raouf Al Najjar and later by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah.

In September 2005 Pope Benedict VI appointed Monsignor Al Twal as Assistant to the Head of Bishops at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.  Before this appointment, Monsignor Al Twal was Head of Bishops in Tunisia.  He had also held diplomatic posts in the Papal Embassy in Honduras, Germany, Peru, and in the Political Relations Council at the Vatican.

After graduating from the Beit Jala Ecumenical Institute of the Latin Patriarchate, and after starting his advanced degree in the Ecclesial Law at the Papal University in Rome, Monsignor Al Twal served in the Latin Parish in Ramallah, Irbid (Jordan), and Amman (Jordan).

In 1974 he joined the Ecclesial Papal Academy where he received his Master Degree in Ecclesial Law in 1975.

March 16:  Under the auspices of H.E. the Palestinian Minster of Culture, Mr. Yehya Yakhlef, the Bethlehem Peace Center inaugurated the second annual Bethlehem Cultural Week and Book Exhibition.  With the cooperation of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, the event is organized by the Bethlehem Peace Center, the Arab Womens' Union Club, the Cardinal House, and the Friends of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra Committee.  The inauguration ceremony was attended by Bethlehem Mayor Mr. Victor Batarseh, H.E. the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Ziad Al Bandak, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mr. Isa Qaraqe', and Director of the Ministry of Culture Office in Bethlehem Mr. Mohammad Al Diri.  The Exhibition will run until March 26, 2006.

March 17:  As part of its Bethlehem Cultural Week activities, the Bethlehem Peace Center hosted the Palestinian novelist Leila Al Atrash, from Beit Sahour and resident of Amman, Jordan.

May 2:  Dr. Michel Shibli Sansour, Principal of the College des Fréres (De La Salle) in Bethlehem held a reception in honor of having received from the French Government the decoration "Palmes Academiques" (Academic Palms) through the French Consul General in Jerusalem, Mr. Alain Remy.

May 11:  Al-Dheisheh Boys' School held its annual end-of-school-year open day activities.

May 11:  A memorandum of understanding on the protection and preservation of Palestinian heritage in Bethlehem was signed between the Center for Cultural Heritage (CCHP), represented by the CCHP Director, Dr. Khouloud D'ebes, and the three local municipalities (Bethlehem: represented by Mayor Dr. Victor Batarseh, Beit Jala: represented by Mayor Raji Zeidan, Beit Sahour: represented by Mayor in-Charge Engineer Mazen al-Shomali).  Present at the signing ceremony were Governor of Bethlehem, Salah al-Ta'mari, UNESCO Representative in Ramallah, Giovani Fontana, and representative of the Italian Cooperation Office in Jerusalem, Usama Hamdan.

May 11:  Talitha Qumi School in Beit Jala held its third annual spring festival.

May 16:  Bethlehem Governor, Salah at-Ta'mari, inaugurated the photo exhibition entitled "The Lost Homeland" by the Miami-born artist Allan Jino.  The exhibition depicts pictures of 1948 refugees and recent pictures of the places they refuged from.  The exhibition, which ran until May 30, took place at the Bethlehem Peace Center.

May 26:  Bethlehem University inaugurated the first annual Palestinian Literature Conference entitled "Palestinian Literature in al-Muthalath and in Galilea".  The conference was attended by the university's deputy Director, Father Daniel Kaisy, mayors of the municipalities, as well as the literary figure Hanna Abu Hanna.  The conference ran for two days until May 27, 2006.

June 1:  The International Center of Bethlehem (Dar Annadwa Adduwaliyyah) inaugurated the art exhibition "End of School Year for Arts Students".  The exhibition represents the art work of the center's students.  The exhibition ran until June 12, 2006.

June 2:  The Alliance Francaise of Bethlehem and the Bethlehem Peace Center hosted the researcher in Arab arts Ms. Salwa al-Miqdadi during which she lectured on the "Palestinian Arts in Morocco". The lecture was attended by the Bethlehem Mayor, Dr. Victor Batarseh, the Cultural Attache of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, Director of the Alliance Francaise in Bethlehem, Mrs. Pauline Dabdoub Anastas, Director of the Bethlehem Peace Center, Mr. Michel Nasser, and members of the Alliance Francaise in Bethlehem.

2016:

October 31: The Palestinian Embassy to the Holy See celebrates the historic reconciliatory meeting between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church which was signed in Sweden by the Holy Pontiff Pope Francis I and Archbishop Munib Younan, Head of the Lutheran World Federation and the Lutheran Bishop in the Holy Land and Jordan

November 4:Under the patronage of President Mahmoud Abbas, the First National Conference, “Towards Bethlehem, Arab Cultural Capital 2020” is inaugurated by Minister of Culture, Dr. Ihab Bseiso at the Convention Center in the Solomon Pools Resorts, south of Bethlehem.

November 4: Under the prime sponsorship of Bank of Palestine, and in a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary since its establishment, “Dar Al Kalima University – College of Arts & Culture” bestows the “Karima Abboud Prize for Photography” to three winners: Nihaya Alhajj for the first prize, May Al Hirbawi for the second prize, and Wasim Ali for the third prize.

November 7:  Four people were injured in a self-inflicted car accident after their car flipped over as it veered off the main road into a nearby field, near the village of Al Furdeis, east of Bethlehem.

November 9:  The “Palestine Museum for Natural History—Bethlehem University” signed the national covenant environment charter as part of the Palestinian civil and environmental bodies

November 9:  The “Palestine Wildlife Society” inaugurated the first environmental tourism conference in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Palestinian Water Authority, the Palestinian Environment Authority, and the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

November 11:  Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, accompanied by 55 pilgrims, on a tour to Palestine, visited the convent and school of the Rosary Sisters in Bethlehem as well as the House of Saint Martha, also in Bethlehem.

November 12:  Palestinian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Rula Mayayah, inaugurates, in the Peace Center in Bethlehem, a conference on Mediterranean Tourism entitled “Enabling the Future” in cooperation with the Maltese Representative Office in Palestine, the Holy Land Tourism Association, and the Mediterranean Tourism Forum.

November 13:  The Centre for Cultural Heritage inaugurates House of Hope Society for the visually impaired in Beit Jala after completing of renovation and rehabilitation works to the building which houses the society.

November 13:  Bethlehem University awards the “Farideh Al Budeiri Prize for Nursing” to one of its high achieving students, Haneen Deiriyeh who received a GPA of 3.73 and ranking third amongst the whole student body during the year 2016.

November 18:  The Beit Sahour Orthodox Club basketball team arrives in Athens for a friendly game against “Aek Athens” team on Sunday, November 20, 2016.  During the visit of the team, Beit Sahour Mayor, Hani Al Hayek, and the head of the Beit Sahour Orthodox Club delegation, Jalal Barham, honored Suheil Hassib Sabbagh for his continuous support for the Club.

November 19:  The Middle East Institute in Washington grants Ms. Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, the "Isam Fares" award for her role defending the rights of the Palestinian people. 

November 20:  The “Catholic Action Bethlehem” celebrates its patron saint, the King Jesus.

November 23:  Beit Sahour Orthodox Club basketball team loses against AEK Athens team 66 to 77 in Vrilissia, Athens, during a 4-day visit by the Palestinian team to Greece, sponsored by Suheil Sabbagh.

November 23:  Bethlehem Municipality starts decorating the streets and squares in preparation for the upcoming Christmas festivities in the town.

November 23:  Bishop Atallah Hanna receives a delegation from the Bethlehem Orthodox parish for a visit of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

November 25:  Beit Jala resident, Dr. Amal Awad Al Hadweh is the first Palestinian lady to receive an honorary doctorate degree.  The degree was awarded to her from the University of Catalonia in Spain for her work and efforts in serving the Palestinian refugees through her work in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem.

November 27:  In the annual press conference announcing the launch of the Christmas celebrations in the city, Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun, stated that the time has come for the world to take a just stand to end our people’s suffering.

November 27:  The walls of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem are lit orange on the occasion of the international day for the elimination of violence against women

November 27:  Father Francesco Patton, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, arrives in Bethlehem as part of the traditional annual celebration of Saint Catherine, patroness of the Saint Catherine Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, and the announcement of the start of the Christmas celebrations.

November 27:  Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce participates in a training visit to Koln Chamber of Crafts in Germany.

November 27:  As part of the Christmas celebrations, Bethlehem Municipality inaugurates the traditional, annual, one-day Christmas market in Manger Square in Bethlehem

November 29:  Archbishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate, headed the launch of the celebrations of the Lady of the Annunciation of the Latin Parish in Beit Jala and the inauguration of the annual Christmas bazaar. 

November 30:  Archbishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate, announces the start of the Christmas celebrations and “we pray to maintain the right for the call of prayers from the mosques.”

November 30:  Jack Jalal Al Shayeb, 22 years, from Beit Sahour, achieved and international victory by winning the silver medal in the IFBB Diamonds Cup organized by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness in Athens, Greece.

December 1:  The advisor to the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, and the Coordinator of Religious Celebrations and Festivities, Father Ibrahim Faltas: “The Custody, in coordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, has been working on promoting religious tourism from within and from outside the Holy Land.”  In his announcement, Father Faltas praised the presidential decree, by President Mahmoud Abbas, to renovate the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem

December 2:  Al Liqa Centre for Religious and Heritage Studies inaugurates its 24th conference of “Theology and the Local Church in the Holy Land” at the Grand Park Hotel in Bethlehem.

December 2:  As part of the annual Christmas Nights Festival, organized by the Edward Said Music Conservatoire of Beit Sahour, Mohamad Assaf appears in concert at the Convention Palace in Bethlehem in support of the children in the Palestinian refugee camps.  The event was attended by the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Roula Mayaya, Edward Said Music Conservatoire Director, Jalil Elias, representative of Bethlehem Governor Jibrin Al Bakri, Fouad Salem, General Manager of Solomon Pools Resorts and the Convention Palace, George Basous.

December 3:  In the presence of the Prime Minister, Rami Al Hamdallah, Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Roula Mayayah, Bethlehem Governor, Jibrin Al Bakri, the President’s Advisor to Christian Affairs, Ziad Al Bandak, the ceremony of lighting the Bethlehem Christmas tree took place in Manager Square.  The tree, the largest in the history of Bethlehem stands at 25 metres high and 7 metres in diameter.

December 6:  The Center for Environmental Education / Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Middle East opened its 7th annual awareness and environmental education conference entitled “The mechanisms to promote environmental awareness, education, law and media in Palestine”, in Bethlehem, under the auspices of Archbishop Munib Younan, Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Lutheran World Federation

December 7:  As part of the celebration of the international day for people with disability, a conference meeting is held at the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation, concentrating on the extent to which the municipalities, village councils, and the local government commit to enforce providing buildings, infrastructures, streets, transportation systems, and other public facilities with the necessary tools to facilitate the mobility and accessibility of people with special need.

December 7:  The Housing Bank in coordination with the Arab Orthodox Benevolent Society in Beit Sahour contributes in supporting the university student in need fund.

December 7:  On his first visit to Bethlehem, the new French Consul General in Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard, is welcomed by Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun.

December 7:  A meeting of the Rotary Clubs in Palestine (Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Al Bireh) is held at Jacir Palace in Bethlehem ahead of the upcoming visit of Kevork Mahdessian, Deputy Governor of all rotary clubs in Armenia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, and UAE, to Palestine.

December 10:  “Dar Al Kalima University – College of Arts &Culture” hosts a group of 21 international representatives of tour operators, tourism journalists, and experst in tourism development from Italy, Spain and Malta, on an educational visit to the new community hotel established in the centre of historic Bethlehem for the international tourism market, aimed at promoting the city of Bethlehem and Palestine.

December 11:  Ibda’a “Creative” Foundation in Dheisheh refugee camp celebrates the launch of the book “40 days on the pavement” by the ex-detainee in Israeli occupation prisons, the writer Salah Abu Laban, Moderator at Riwaq Cultural Centre, which is part of the foundation.  The celebration is held at the Russian Centre for Culture and Science in Bethlehem.

December 11:  Bethlehem mayor, Vera Baboun, returns from Italy after participating in the lighting of the Christmas tree in the city of Assisi, a twin city with Bethlehem since 1989.  The mayor also visited the Italian city of Norcia which was hit by a 6.6-magnitude quake - Italy's strongest in decades – end of October 2016

December 11:  The 2016 Bethlehem Christmas tree was considered by the international renowned news web site “Huffington Post” as one of the most “Breathtaking [and] Inspiring Christmas Trees Of 2016”

December 11:  Three Deacons from Beit Jala Seminary are ordained at the Church of the Annunciation in Beit Jala.  The three Deacons are: Saqr Dheilan Hijazin from Aqaba congregation in Jordan; Joseph Odeh Sweis from Fheis congregation in Jordan; and Salem Harb Lolas from Beit Jala congregation.

December 11:  Palestine and Poland sign a contribution agreement for the renovation of the Church of Nativity at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem.  The agreement is signed by the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister, Joanna Wronecka, and the Head of the Presidential Committee for the Renovation of the Church, the President’s Advisor to Christian Affairs, Ziad Al Bandak.

December 12:  Bethlehem mayor, Vera Baboun, returns from Italy after participating in the lighting of the Christmas tree in the city of Assisi, a twin city with Bethlehem since 1989.  The mayor also visited the Italian city of Norcia which was hit by a 6.6-magnitude quake - Italy's strongest in decades – end of October 2016

December 12:  Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Al Zababdeh and the launch of the Christmas Parade.   The “Prisoners’ Tree” is lit In Beit Jala on the occasion of Christmas and in commemoration of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

December 13:  The Palestinian Ministry of Education and the National Beverage Company (Coca Cola & Capi) conclude the 2016 Coca Cola Cupa Championship in which Ibn Sina Primary School for Boys in Hebron and the Bethlehem District girls’ team won first place for each of the two categories.

December 14:  The Terra Sancta / Latin Patriarchate Scouts Group holds a meeting at the scouts den to discuss the preparations for the traditional Christmas procession welcoming the Latin Patriarch into the city in the early afternoon of December 24 in preparation for the midnight Christmas mass he holds at the Saint Catherine Church in the Church of the Nativity.

December 14:  In the presence of Bethlehem mayor, Vera Baboun, the Head of the Austrian Representative Office in Palestine, Andrea Nassi, and a number of distinguished guests, Bethlehem Municipality celebrates 20 years on the renovation of the Vienna Hall in the municipal building.

December 14:  Palestine Ahliya University celebrates the forth commencement ceremony for graduates of the Special Education Program.

December 15:  Palestinian Olympic Swimmer, Mary Al Atrash, from Beit Sahour is scheduled to return home.  Al Atrash who participated in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro hoisted the Palestinian flag at the Olympics closing ceremony.  She then travelled to Denmark to participate in a program on preparing future leaders, organized by the Young Christian Men’s Association (YMCA).

December 15:  The Slovakian Representative office and the honorary Slovakian Consul to Palestine, in cooperation with the Edward Said Music Conservatory, organized a Christmas evening with the Slovak Technik Choir group at the Bethlehem Peace Center in Manger Square

December 15:  The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation organizes a round-table discussion in Ramallah on the law of the rights of the disabled number 4/1999.

December 15:  Diar/Dar Al Kalima University – College of Arts & Culture concludes the third phase of its training program of young leaders for 2016 in which 86 young future leaders graduated

December 15:  The Palestinian General Secretariat for Christian Schools – Bethlehem branch, organizes a sports day on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.  The participating schools (Latin Patriarchate school of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala, Talitha Kumi School of Beit Jala, Mennonite (Al Amal) School of Beit Jala, and Dar Al-Kalima School of Bethlehem) competed in table tennis, volley-ball, among other sports, held at the Latin Patriarchate School of Beit Sahour.

December 15:  Diar Children Academy, part of Diar/Dar Al Kalima University – College of Arts & Culture, concludes its first Christmas Karate Championship, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Dar Al-Kalima University – College of Arts & Culture.

December 15:  The twelfth annual Children Christmas March starts in Bethlehem with the participation of more than 300 children from all over Palestine.  The march roamed the streets of the old city of Bethlehem and ended at Manger Square where the participants visited the Church of Nativity.

December 17:  The Bethlehem Bible College holds a Christmas celebration.

December 17:  Under the patronage of the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Roula Mayaya, The Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association holds its annual gala dinner at the Orient Palace Hotel in Beit Jala.  During the dinner, the Association announces the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) as the winner for the best tourism office.  Additionally, the Association, represented by its Director, Sami Khoury, signed 3 agreements with each of the Arab Hotels Association, represented by George Abu Aita; the Masar Ibrahim al Khalil (Abraham's Path), represented by Raed Saadeh; and the Union of Tour Guides, represented by Raymond Makhlouf.

December 17:  The Palestine Wildlife Society and the Environment Quality Authority, in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Bird Life International, Middle East Office, sign an agreement to monitor important areas for birds in Palestine.

December 18:  Under the auspices of the Prime Minister, Rami Al Hamdallah, and the participation of Bethlehem Governor, Jibreen Al Bakri, the Mayor of Beit Jala, Nichola Khamis, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Roula Mayayah, Maor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun, Palestinian Ambassador to Germany, Dr. Khouloud Deibes, Prisoners Affairs Minister, Issa Qaraqe, Mayor of Doha, Mazen Lahham, and Mayor of Al Khader, Ishq Sbeih; the Municipality of Beit Jala celebrates the lighting of the Christmas tree and the anniversary of its saint patron, Saint Nicholas.

December 18:  As part of its program and continuous support of the needy, the Bethlehem Lions Club initiates a campaign of packaging and distributing food baskets to needy families on the occasion of Christmas.

December 18:  On the occasion of Christmas, the Palestinian Teacher’s day, and the International Human Rights declaration, the Arab Educational Institute, member of the Pax Christi International, holds a festive celebration in the Golden Park Hotel in Beit Sahour, in the presence of Archbishop Theofiliktos, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchal deputy in Bethlehem; Sami Marwa, Bethlehem Director of Education, Basem Eirekat, Ramallah Director of Education; Abdallah Shakarneh, former Bethlehem Director of Education; and Father Yacoub Abu Sada, Greek Catholic parish priest of Beit Sahour.

December 19:  A new administrative board is voted in for the Arab Orthodox Club in Beit Jala.  The board members are: Abdallah Hodali (President), Jamileh Ghawali (Vice President), Fouad Abed Rabbo (Secretary), Khalil Abu Ghattas (Treasurer), Fouad Rabie (Public Relations), and Voltaire Kharoufeh, Philippe Daoud, Suheil Al Shaer, and Emad Nour as members.

December 20:  Rami Al Al Ama from Bethlehem participates in the Belgian international championship for horse jumping obstacles, representing Palestine among 15 countries.

December 21:  Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Archbishop of Jerusalem, Palestine and Jordan, Theofilos III, presides over the celebratory mass in the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beit Jala to mark the anniversary of Beit Jala’s Patron, Saint Nicholas.

December 21:  Bethlehem Governor, Jibreen Al Bakri, announces that the city of Bethlehem (represented by the ministries, security services, and municipalities) has finalized all the necessary arrangements for the upcoming Christmas celebrations.

December 22: The Supreme Presidential Commission of Churches holds a luncheon banquet at Ararat Hotel in Beit Sahour on the occasion of the Christmas celebrations in the presence of Archbishop Theofilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Palestine and Jordan; Archbishop Pierre Batista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator; Armenian Orthodox Patriarch, Norhan Manougian; ‎the Very Rev. Father Francesco Patton, Custodian of the Holy Land; Bishop of the Greek Catholics, Yousef Zrei’i; Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and President of the Lutheran World Federation; Archbishop of the Syrian Catholics, Boutros Malki; among other religious and political dignitaries as well as members of the civil society.

December 22: The congregation and choir of Lady of the Shepherds for the Greek Catholic Melkites in Beit Sahour holds its seventh annual Christmas Recital in the church of the Lady of the Shepherds for the Greek Catholic Melkites in the city

December 30:  The Palestinian National Orchestra hosts a number of concerts in Palestine accompanied by the Dutch conductor Maestro Vincent De Kort, and the Palestinian musician Simon Shaheen.  The first concert takes place at the Bethlehem Convention Palace at the Solomon Pools area in Al Khader on Friday, December 30.