Christians in Israel and the West Bank celebrate Christmas Eve in the Holy Land. Justin Mitchell reports.
It is Christmas Eve in the Holy Land. Here in Nazareth, revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, hundreds of local and visiting Christians celebrate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARLENE, TOURIST FROM SWEDEN, SAYING: "I have come to Nazareth today to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And since this is where it all started we thought we'd start at the beginning." The parade is followed by a mass. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, thousands of pilgrims gather in Bethlehem, where Christians believe Jesus was born. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was there to attend the traditional midnight mass. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT, MAHMOUD ABBAS, SAYING: "We hope from God that this holiday will come next year in peace and calmness and we will overcome the racism and violence that is taking place in some of our areas." More than ten thousands visitors are expected -- many wishing to celebrate Christmas in the place they believe it began.