Drone view on Wednesday showed Bethlehem, known as the birthplace of Jesus, waking up to a near-deserted Manger Square at dawn on Orthodox Christmas Eve.
Only 12 months ago, Bethlehem was celebrating its busiest festive season for two decades, amid a sustained drop in violence and a corresponding surge in the number of pilgrims and tourists. But now in the coronaries era, tourists are scarce, leaving hotels almost empty.
Nevertheless, town leaders say it will go ahead with its celebrations, aware that the world's eyes are upon it at this time of year.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, will lead the celebrations which will take place under COVID-19 restrictions.
The Orthodox church celebrates Christmas Day on January 7th.