By a Turkish Decree, the village of Beit Jala is declared a Municipality.


April 19:  A general strike in Palestine was called for against the British Mandate after which the British army turned the Jacir residence in Bethlehem into a prison to incarcerate the Palestinian rebels.  The strike lasted 6 months.


July 7:  The Peel Commission Report recommended turning Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State incorporated into Trans-Jordan, with Jerusalem and Bethlehem placed under the British Mandate.


December 19:  Three members of the Baghdad Pact, Abdallah Tayeh (nicknamed "The Deer"), Abdelkarim Aqel, and Ismail Al Khatib, along with many other high school students from Bethlehem were martyred during a demonstration in Manger Square in Bethlehem.


February 26:  The Israeli government gives the green light for the establishment of a settlement on the Mountain of Abu Ghneim (north east of Bethlehem), whose land was confiscated from the residents of Bethlehem.  This settlement is now known as "Har Homa."


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 and the first traditional midnight Christmas Mass held at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem was attended by Palestinian President Yaser Arafat.


December 6:  The Israeli occupying forces lifts a ban imposed on Israeli citizens from entering the city of Bethlehem the short-lived Aqsa Intifada in September.

December 6:  Al Khader and Artas villagers hold their Friday prayers and demonstrations on their lands which are threatened to be confiscated by the Israeli occupation.

December 7:  Representatives of the city’s civil and national societies and organizations holds a meeting in Beit Sahour calling the President and the Local Government to replace the current municipal council and to establish a committee to run Beit Sahour Municipality.

December 8:  Bethlehem taxi drivers demonstrate in front of the governor’s office against the Israeli occupation’s closure of Jerusalem which forbids these drivers from entering the city.


December 24:  First traditional midnight Christmas Mass held at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem without the presence of President Yaser Arafat since 1995 due to Israeli occupying forces' siege of his Headquarters in Ramallah following the outbreak of Al Aqsa Intifada back in September 2000.  Instead, his Koufieh was placed on his seat throughout the service.


March 29:  Israeli occupying forces brutally entered Bethlehem on the first of a 40-day incursion and curfew imposition on the city, during which they also imposed an unprecedented siege of the Church of the Nativity at the end of which some 30 Palestinians were expelled and exiled outside their home town to Gaza and Europe.


January 25:  Palestinian Legislative Council Elections with 4 parliamentary seats for the Bethlehem District. The Bethlehem Electoral District thirty-two Candidates (in the Majority System) are (with the 4 winners in highlighted in Red):  Abu Ali Mustafa (PFLP) Candidates: Gabriel George Bishara al-Shomali (#1), Maria Alfred Rock Rock (#2), Mahmoud Ibrahim Hamdan Fanoun (#9), and Hasan Mahmoud Abdel Jawad al-Fararjeh (#26); Change and Reform (Hamas) Candidates: Khaled Ibrahim Tafish Thouaib (#17) and Mahmoud Daoud Mahmoud al-Khatib (#18); Fateh Candidates: Fayez Anton Elias al-Saqa (#27), Fouad Karim Saliba Kokali (#28), Sulieman Ahmad Sulieman Abu Mifreh (#29), and Majid Ali Mohammad Faraj (#31); Independent Candidates: Mohammad Daoud Abed al-Radaydeh (#3), Yousif Mohammad Awad Abu Omar (#4), Hanna Ilia Hanna Rashmawi (#5), Mahir Ibrahim Mustafa Assaf (#6), Bishara Saliba Sulieman Daoud (Abu al Balad) (#7), Omar Yousif Ali Abu Ghayatha (#10), Fouad Basil Hanna Riziq (#11), Sami Bishara Elias Awad (#12), Khadir Hasan Hussein Laham (#13), Makram Jamil Hanna Qumsieh (#14), Mohammad Shihadeh Abed al-Ta'mari (#15), Salem Mohammad Salem al-Thouaib (#16), Osama Na'em Odeh Moalem (#19), Walid Issa Ibahim al-Huraimi (#20), Isam Iskander Jeries Abu al-Zolof (#21), Jamal Mahmoud Abed Hajahjah (#22), Basim Ahmad yousif Abu Shammah (#23), Salim Khalil Ahmad Qasqas(#24), Sami George Tannas Abu Aiteh (#25), Yousif Aref Mohamad Hamad (#30), and Nasir Mohammad Ahmad Safi (#32); and Popular Struggle Front Candidate: Khalid Abdel Fattah Khalid al-Azzah (#8)

February:  Under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdallah II of Jordan a ministerial economic conference was held for members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.  During the conference, businessman Mr. Nassar Nassar (Abu Ali) from Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem was awarded the "Investor of the Year" prize for his contribution in investments in Palestine as well as encouraging investments and creating employment opportunities through investments.

February 6:  Israeli bulldozers started working in the vicinity of Rachel Tomb, north of Bethlehem, in an attempt to start the final phase of the construction of the separation wall in the area which had been confiscated from Bethlehem residents for that purpose.

February 19:  The long-awaited visit of the Tibetan Leader the Dalai Lama to Bethlehem on Sunday was cancelled after that the Palestinian Authority refused to welcome him in solidarity with the Chinese government stand against him for being a separatist.  The visit—organized by the Bethlehem based Holy Land Trust and during which he was supposed to visit the Church of Nativity, the Omar Mosque on Manger Square, the Municipality, and the Azeeh refugee camp—was to take place during the Dalai Lama's visit to Israel. 

March 16:  New notifications issued by the Israeli occupying forces regarding land confiscation in the Bethlehem district have been issued to a number of citizens who own land to the west of Bethlehem (Batir, Husan, Al Qabu, and Wad Fukin), and to the north of Hebron (Sourif) with a total area of 766 Dunums (766,000 square meters). These include the lands within Basin 3 of Awalajeh lands (known as Khalet Al Samak); Basins 6, 7, and 8 of Batir lands (known as Irq Al Jam', Al Dour, and Al Jiser); Basins 5 and 6 of Al Qabu lands (known as Al Izrawi and Sha'eb Al Ras); Basins 3, 4, and 5 of Wad Fukin lands (known as Al Basa, Al For, and Khirbet Safsin); and Basin 2 of the lands of Sourif (known as Al Jaras).

March 16:  The Israeli military court in the detention camp of Ofar to the north of Ramallah sentenced Mohammad Al Nashash to 15 years in prison for allegedly participating in resistance activities.

March 17:  The Israeli military court in the detention camp of Ofar to the north of Ramallah sentenced Rafat Jawabreh (Head of the Palestinian Special Forces Unit in Bethlehem) to 15 years in prison for reportedly leading the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (military wing of Fateh) in Bethlehem and for allegedly planning attacks on against Israeli targets.  Jawabreh, 38, from Al Doha City (southwest of Bethlehem) has been wanted by Israel since the start of the Al Aqsa Intifada in September 2000.  He was arrested by Israeli occupying forces from his hide-out in Al Doha City, around two-and-a-half years ago.

March 18:  The Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem commemorated the third anniversary of the martyrdom of the British peace activist, Rachel Corie, who was brutally squashed under the Israeli occupying forces' bulldozers in Gaza back in 2003.  Corie, who was trying along with other foreign peace activists to protest the Israelis' demolishment of Palestinian houses in the north of the Gaza Strip by standing in front of the bulldozer, was intentionally crushed under the heavy machinery killing her instantly.

May 15:  Israeli military occupying forces entered the village of al-Khader (south west of Bethlehem) and brutally forced themselves into homes and harassing their inhabitants.  At the same time, another force from the Israeli occupying military entered the village of Artas (adjacent to al-Khader) and, after one-and-a-half hours of home-to-home search, arrested a member of the Palestinian Preventive Police force whom the Israeli military claims is wanted by Israel for being a member in the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and for planning attacks against Israeli targets.

May 20:  Israel started digging up a tunnel that connects Bethlehem with the western country-side villages of Husan, Battir, and al-Khader.  The tunnel is supposed to pass under what is known as Highway 60 used by Israeli settlers commuting between Jerusalem and the settlements south of Bethlehem.  This tunnel is intended to separate Palestinian and Israeli commuters from using the same road.

May 22:  A Fateh Movement Conference was held in Beit Sahour during which key Fateh leaders, amongst whom Hani al-Hasan and Al-Tayyeb Abdel-Rahim addressed the audience about the current situation.

May 25:  The Israeli occupying military forces forcefully broke into the Bethlehem Archeological Olive Press Museum in the city located in the Giacaman olive press archeological building dating back to the 18th Century.  Back in 1999 the olive press was renovated as part of the UNDP and Japanes Government aid to renovate archeological sites in Bethlehem in preparation for the year 2000 celebrations.

July 5:  Around 320 boys and girls from 19 refugee camps in the West Bank participated in a march organized by Badil (Center for Refugee Rights) in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem.  The march called for the right of return.

July 14:  The Ben Gurion Airport Authorities in Tel Aviv deported to the US the American Citizen from Palestinian origin, Siham Ismail Rahhal from Wad Rahhal (Bethlehem) along with her two children Dana (14 years) and Adam (7 years) after 15 hours of detention at the airport.


November 1:  Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, meet at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem.  During the visit to Bethlehem, and accompanied by Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun, the Italian President, attends a mass service at the Church of Nativity, where he also takes a tour of the renovation work undertaken by the Italian government in the church.

November 2:  Bethlehem Executive Committee, under the leadership of Bethlehem Governor, Jibreen Al Bakri, holds its periodic meeting to discuss the general situation in Bethlehem and Jerusalem and more specifically the development of Beit Jala King Hussein Government Hospital.

November 3:  Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem and USAID celebrate the completion of the implementation of the new database system sponsored by USAID over three years, as highlighted by Caritas’ Executive Director, Isa Bandak.

November 6:  General Governor of Canada, David Johnston and his wife, tour Bethlehem and Beit Jala, accompanied by Bethlehem Governor, Jibrin Al Bakri; Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun; Bethlehem Chief of Police, Ala Shalabi; Bethlehem District Chief, Said Najjar; Palestine Ambassador to Canada, Nabil Maarouf.  The tour included the Church of Nativity, Bethlehem University, Al Shurooq School for the Visually Impaired.

November 7:  The Israeli occupation military court at the Ofer detention camp sentenced Mohamad Fouad Adawin, 28 years, from Al Azzah Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, to 18 years in prison and 1 million shekels fine for allegedly “being a member of a Hamas military cell, trading in arms, and bringing in financial support for Hamas”

November 7:  The Israeli occupation military forces released from its prisons Fadi Mohamad Jawed Hamamreh from Husan, west of Bethlehem, after serving 26 months of arrest for allegedly “participating in resisting the Israeli occupation”

November 12 to December 23:  The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce participates in the Vienna Christmas Markets between November 12 and December 23, 2016

November 15:  Seven local municipalities in the Bethlehem district sign an agreement to found the Council of Shared Services for Tourism Development in Bethlehem.  The seven participants are the municipalities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Al Oubediyeh, Doha, Battir and Al Khader.

November 15 to 20:  Palestine participates in the International Exhibition for Business and Trade in Salvador, represented by the Palestinian Embassy in Nicaragua, in the period between November 15 and 20, 2016

November 18:  Rashed Hammad Al Zghari, 67, a refugee from Jrash (25 Kilometers west of Jerusalem) and resident of Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, is released from an American prison after 20 years of incarceration there.  Prior to that, Al Zghari was detained for 9 years in a Greek prison after being arrested, in 1987, in Greece on charges of resisting the Israeli occupation to Palestine through national acts of struggle.

November 23:  A Palestinian worker, Mahmoud Salah, 31 years, is wounded north east of Bethlehem by Israeli occupation forces gunfire while on his way to work in Jerusalem.

November 28:  The Colonization & Wall Resistance Commission, in cooperation with Bethlehem Governorate, provided, for the first time, the village of Jub Al Deeb, east of Bethlehem, with power supply using solar panels, water supply, and school bus to and from the village.

November 30:  Protest activities in refugee camps south of the West bank against the United Nation Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) recent measures to reduce service provided to the refugees.

November 30:  Eulogy ceremony in memoriam of the late Cuban President Fidel Castro is held in the Dheisheh Refugee camp in Bethlehem.

December 3:  The unified committee for the protection of education in the southern governorates of the West Bank, represented by students’ parents from the refugee camps of Dheisheh, Aida, Al Azzeh, Al Arroub, and Al Fouar, called for a sit-in in front of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) offices in Bethlehem in protest of the overcrowding of students in the classrooms following UNRWAS’ decision to cut down on services in the education sector. 

December 4:  Mohamad Ahmad Salem Al Khatib, from Bethlehem, starts his 11th year in Israeli occupation prisons after being arrested in 2006 and sentence to life imprisonment by the Israeli occupation military court.

December 8:  On the occasion of the seventh year of launching of the document “A Just Stand”, the Palestinian Christian Initiative, “Kairos Palestine”, inaugurates its annual conference entitled “Faith – Steadfastness – Creative Resistance” at the International Centre of Bethlehem “Dar Annadwa” in Bethlehem

December 9:  The Israeli occupation authorities take “facilitating measures” for Palestinian Christians on the occasion of Christmas including:

  • Coordinating the entry of Christian Palestinians to “Israel” throughout the holidays
  • Allowing 400 Palestinian Christians to travel from Ben Gurion Airport
  • Allowing 100 Palestinian Christians to travel to Gaza to visit relatives of the first degree
  • Issuing 400 permits for Christian families living in the Arab countries to visit the West Bank
  • Coordinating trips for groups wishing to visit “Israel” during the holidays
  • Allowing 700 Palestinian Christians from Gaza to travel to East Jerusalem and the West Bank
  • Allowing 500 Palestinian Christians from Gaza to travel through Al Karama Bridge (connecting the West Bank to Jordan)
  • Allowing 500 Gazan Christians living abroad to travel through Al Karama Bridge (connecting the West Bank to Jordan) to visit Gaza

December 9:  Parents, relatives and families of martyrs whose bodies are detained by the Israeli occupation forces organized a sit-in outside the Church of Nativity calling for the release of their children’s bodies which are being held by the Israeli occupation authorities.

December 11:  The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – Bethlehem district, celebrates, at the Finiq “Phoenix” Cultural Centre in Dheisheh refugee camp, the 49th anniversary for the establishment of the PFLP which also commemorates the 1st anniversary of the martyrdom of Malek Shahin from Dheisheh refugee camp, who was killed by Israeli military occupation forces in Dheisheh in 2015.

December 13:  The Higher Coordination Committee against the Wall and Settlements launched a campaign to help market the Palestinian molasses produced by families whose agricultural lands are surrounded and encroached by illegal Israeli occupation settlements in the area of Kfar Asion

December 14:  In its session number 259 chaired by Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun, the Bethlehem municipal council approves the proposal to levy taxes on tourists entering the city.  The tax is meant to be used for the upgrade and maintenance of the city’s facilities as well as providing a safe environment for the visiting tourists.

December 14:  Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosts Palestine Ahliya University business and finance students in an effort of the Chamber to reinforce the communication among the different civil society organizations as well as to introduce the Chamber’s role in representing the private sector and supporting the national economy.

December 15:  Ambassadors and Consuls of 17 European countries to Jerusalem and Ramallah send Christmas messages of love and peace to their countries and to the world from the Church of Nativity.

December 16:  The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), through an official letter signed by the Director of UNRWA Operations and UNRWA's representative in the West Bank, Scott Anderson, decides to close 12 of its schools in 3 refugee camps in the West Bank, including Dheisheh (south of Bethlehem), Al Fawwar and Al Arroub (both of the Hebron district)

December 16:  Wi'am (The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center), in cooperation with factional coordination committee and the institutions of civil society and community events in Bethlehem, organizes a solidarity stand outside the Church of Nativity in condemnation of the heinous crime committed against St Peter's Church near the main St Marc Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Egypt on Sunday, December 10, 2016

December 19:  The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) goes back on its decision to close 12 of its schools in the Dheisheh, Arroub, and Fouwwar refugee camps following an administrative order by its Director of Wes Bank Operations in reaction to Palestinians demonstrating against reduction of UNRWA services to Palestinian refugee and raising the Palestinian flags on the UNRWA-run school tops which the UNRWA considers a violation of its sovereignty.   At the same time, such a claim by UNRWA has been widely criticized as being a pleasing act to the Israeli occupation and a submission to its pressures.

December 19:  Bethlehem Mayor, Vera Baboun, receives Matthew Hancock, British Minister of State responsible for digital policy in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in Bethlehem Municipality.

December 20:  Bethlehem Governor, Jibreen Al Bakri, tours the Bethlehem Industrial Zone and was briefed on the progress of work being carried out in preparation of launching phase two of its operations.

December 21: The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce concludes its “Tree of Wishes” campaign by fulfilling the wishes of 165 children with special needs distributed in 5 different organizations within Bethlehem.  The campaign was concluded with a small celebration with the children in each of the 5 organizations: Al Shorouq School for the blind, Holy Child Program, SIRA (Swedish International Relief Association) School, EPHETA, and House of Hope.

December 21:  In cooperation of “Reach” company, a Palestine Telecommunication Group (Paltel) company, the SOS Children’s Village in Bethlehem launches a donation campaign entitled “My family is a gift and more; be part of my family”, aimed at presenting a family, as a gift, for each child.

December 21:  The Israeli occupation army has plans to “shift” what is known as Al Walajeh Checkpoint located at the western entrance of Jerusalem at the outskirts of Al Walajeh village, west of Beit Jala.  The shift of the checkpoint will be inwards on Palestinian occupied lands towards the Al Walajeh village, which will enable the occupation to confiscate the historic water source, Ein Al Hanyeh, belonging to the village and which the Israeli occupation has recently considered as a “national park” which Palestinians are forbidden to reach.

December 22: In cooperation and partnership with the Arab Association for Tour Guides, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities holds its fourth awareness course during 2016 to tour guides.  The course included a site visit to the world’s largest connected Mosaic located in Hisham’s Palace in Jericho.

December 22: The Israeli occupation authorities issue 664 one-month permits for Christian Palestinians in Gaza to visit Bethlehem and participate in the Christmas celebrations

December 22: The Israeli occupation authorities release Rafat Malash from Aida Refugee Camp, north of Bethlehem, after two years of detention in Israeli prisons for being a Fatah activist and for participating in resistance activities against the Israeli occupation