Eric Silver - Jerusalem
Responding to local and international pressure, Israel last night lifted a month-long ban on Bethlehem Arabs travelling to other parts of the West Bank. The army also began to let Christian pilgrims from abroad visit Jesus's birthplace unimpeded. Like the rest of the 2 million West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians, however, the 60,000 inhabitants of Bethlehem and its neighbouring villages are still barred from entering Israel. The closure was imposed after two suicide bombers killed 14 Israeli civilians in a Jerusalem market on 30 July.