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求学网 >> English >> 报刊文摘

游人如织--圣诞地最渴望的圣诞礼物

West bank Bethlehem knows what it wants for Christmas: tourists.

  All over Manger Square and the rest of town, shopkeepers, hotel owners and just plain folks are hoping that visitors come and stay -- if only for a night.

  Pilgrims are the primary source of income in Jesus Christ’s traditional birthplace, and town leaders, while mourning Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, are encouraged by a lull in Israeli-Palestinian fighting since his death last month.

  "We hope things will get better and pray every day for tourists to come back," said Nidal Dar El-Qurneh, a guide at the Church of the Nativity. "It’s been so hard recently, especially the last four years of the intifada."

  The intifada, or Palestinian uprising, has devastated tourism throughout the Holy Land, and occasionally the violence spilled into Bethlehem.

  At formerly bustling Manger Square, just outside the church, the town’s troubles are evident.

  Some of the bullet holes in the church are still visible, and the turquoise blue doors of the stores lining the streets are bolted. Those that are open, to sell baby Jesus figures and glow-in-the-dark statues of the Virgin Mary, say they’re lucky to get a few customers a week.

  Christmas celebrations here once attracted tens of thousands of tourists, but that was before the violence. Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser said that 120,000 tourists once visited every month. Now it’s about 10,000. And on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when tens of thousands of people would normally pour in, Nasser doubts even 1,500 will come to attend services.

  In a sign of renewed cooperation, the Israeli and Palestinian tourism ministers announced an agreement to ease travel restrictions and promised all visitors that the Holy Land was safe.

以色列首都耶路撒冷以南6公里的伯利恒城是传说中耶稣诞生的地方。今年,这个约旦河西岸城市的人们最渴望得到的圣诞礼物是络绎不绝的游客。

  据美联社12月6日报道,由于传说中耶稣降临于此,伯利恒每年都会迎来各国众多朝拜者和游客,旅游业是当地主要的经济收入来源。每年圣诞节前夕,数十万人聚集在伯利恒的马厩广场高唱颂歌和举行弥撒活动以迎接圣诞节的到来。而今年,伯利恒城中的商铺主人、旅馆店主甚至普通老百姓都希望有更多的游客到来,哪怕只是待上短短的一夜,这成了他们最渴望的圣诞礼物。伯利恒主诞堂的一名导游说:“我们每天都在祈祷游客能够继续到这儿观光。但由于最近4年巴以两国冲突不断,游客都害怕到这儿来旅游。”

  在2002年9月发生一系列自杀爆炸事件发生后,以色列军队4万人进驻伯利恒。当时,巴勒斯坦武装人员躲进伯利恒主诞堂,以色列军队封锁教堂5周。现在,这座始建于公元4世纪的教堂里还残留着当时留下的枪眼。

  上月,巴勒斯坦领袖阿拉法特的逝世使巴以两国间的武装冲突稍有停息,这也使伯利恒当地政府急于在圣诞节前恢复旅游业。伯利恒市长纳赛尔表示,以往每年都有数十万的游客来到这里庆祝圣诞节,每月平均有12万游客,而如今每月只有大约1万人。据纳赛尔估计,今年平安夜和圣诞节可能只有1500人前来观光。

  正在当地旅游的一名美国人表示,尽管各种媒体把约旦河西岸描述成一个极不安全的地方,但我们在伯利恒感觉很安全。

  报道说,为了促进旅游业的复兴,巴以两国旅游部门已达成了一项旨在减少两国旅游限制的协议,并向游客承诺,圣地是安全的。



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