This scene is the Arab Educational Institute holding a Nativity scene in front of the Separation Wall and the military watchtower near Rachel’s Tomb in northern Bethlehem, Palestine. To the left is the shepherd and a donkey. On the watchtower is written: “Once a Teacher of Human Rights was born.” During the occasion, the girl standing in the grotto sang “Silent Night, Holy Night”, while the women’s choir of the Arab Educational Institute performed Christmas and national songs.
Prayers for peace were pronounced that had been coming in through a Christmas appeal to send wishes and prayers to Bethlehem - an initiative of Pax Christi, the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches, Church and Peace, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Presidency of the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions, the Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples, and the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation USG/UISG Secretariat.
The celebration was attended by some 150 civilians, including the mayor of Bethlehem, delegates of the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah and Bethlehem, dozens of Palestinian teachers and representatives of churches and mosques also from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas. There were further a visiting group of IKV Pax Christi (a peace movement from the Netherlands), and human rights observers of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Peace in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).