At the entrance of the Aida refugee camp, right around the corner from the Intercontinental Hotel, a jeep belonging to the Palestinian police was parked.
It is the last Christmas of the year—the one Armenians celebrate—and President Mahmoud Abbas will make a visit to this community in Bethlehem. The police are watching the narrow path that leads to the camp and the mural, which reads “Welcome to Aida Camp.” They are there to prevent kids from throwing stones, and it is not clear whether these would be aimed at Abbas himself or at the Israeli military stationed just behind the wall.
The soldiers from Tel Aviv are maintaining a visible presence as well: They walk out from the metal gate that bars the road connecting Bethlehem to Jerusalem, they march toward the children playing along the concrete barrier; then they march back. On the streets of the camp itself, comprising 5,000 residents in an area of 500 square meters, there is almost no one.