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Department of Public Information (DPI)
24 December 1949
Department of Public Information
Press and Publications Bureau
Lake Success, New York
Press Release PAL/545
24 December 1949
ROAD TO BETHLEHEM OPENED FOR CHRISTMAS; ISRAEL, JORDAN
ACCEDE TO REQUEST BY UN AND CONSULAR CORPS IN JERUSALEM
(The following was received today at UN Headquarters
from the UN Press Officer in Jerusalem.)
For the first time since the Palestine hostilities started, the traditional road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem will be open tonight to permit members of the diplomatic corps and the United Nations staff in Jerusalem to attend the Christmas celebration at the Church of the Nativity. This road, over which, according to tradition, the three Holy Kings proceeded to Bethlehem, has been the objective of bitter fighting during the Palestine hostilities and, being at present controlled partly by troops of Jordan and partly by those of Israel, is therefore ordinarily unusable. However, as the result of an appeal made to both parties by the Jerusalem consular corps and by the acting Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, Colonel Garrison Coverdale, United States Army, they agreed to open the road for this occasion.
During the past forty-eight hours, United Nations observers in jeeps and on foot have been busy establishing liaison between Arab and Jewish authorities with the aim of removing mines and "dragonteeth" along the road which, after having been the site of fighting for many months, is to be for the first time today the scene of a peaceful procession again.
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