Palestinian Minister of Tourism, Eng. Judeh Markus said the Paestinian
Authority decided to allocate 50 thousand dollars to decorate Bethlehem
on Christmas, Palestine News Network reported on Sunday.

The decorations will include the Church of Nativity's square and the big pine tree in front of the church.

Markus said that Prime Minister Ismael Haniya approved the decision which was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism.

The Bethlehem municipality, which is responsible fot the decoration has five members of Hamas in its council.  Decorating the city of Bethlehem is a tradition that has been followed since a very long time.

On Christmas eve, the municipality of Bethlehem organizes celebrations in the church's square and invite international and local artists and choirs to perform.

This has been an attractive season for tourists form all around the world.  In the past six years, however, tourism sector has been suffering a seriouse set back which has resulted in a dramatic economic deterioration in Bethlehem area, whose residents highly depend on selling their olive wood, mother of pearl and embroidery products to pilgrims.