Sansour also believes that visitors and pilgrims who do come show support but at the same time many are also in Bethlehem as part of "the fairy-tale story of Christmas".
Father Garret Edmonds, a Franciscan monk from California who works with pilgrim groups in Palestine and is spending his fifth Christmas in Bethlehem, said: "There are moments of hope but then everything returns to the status quo. It goes on and off like this all the time."
Father Edmonds also highlighted the increasing erosion of the Church and the increasing number of Christians choosing to emigrate from in Palestine.
"It's important to have a viable, living Church, but if things continue the way they are in 25 years there might not be a living church. Bethlehem could become one giant museum," he said.
The Grotto at the Church of the Nativity had long lines to pay homage to what is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. In the recent past, security concerns from the 2000 Palestinian uprising dampened enthusiasm for pilgrimages into Bethlehem devastating the local economy with rising unemployment and no other means of income. This year was a different scene with kids in bright red Santa hats under Palestinian led tight security and the usual Bethlehem nativity scene in Nazareth. The Catholic leader called for peace in the Middle East while the Pontiff made Christmas greetings in 60 languages. (AP Photo Kevin Frayer)
And a little child shall lead them... makes for the children's book, from Michal Hudak An Uproar in Bethlehem told from a Christian perspective of the night Jesus was born and the three Magi.