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Gaza bans public New Years Eve celebrations

Dec. 30, 2015 4:33 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 30, 2015 4:40 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gazan authorities on Wednesday issued notices to restaurants and hotels in the Strip banning establishments from throwing New Years Eve celebrations, a Gaza police spokesperson said.

Ayman al-Butneiji told Ma'an the notices were issued because New Years Eve celebrations, in the eyes of the Hamas-run Gazan government, "contradict" Islam, and "are mainly an imitation of the west.”

He also highlighted the "pains and sacrifices" that come with living in Gaza due to Israel's "imposed siege" on the Strip.

Palestinian culture encourages communities to refrain from having celebrations during times of death or upheaval.

In Bethlehem, Christmas celebrations were toned-down significantly out of respect for the more than 120 Palestinian families who have lost loved ones since the start this year's upheaval in October.

Since the start of October, municipalities across the occupied West Bank have also asked bars and restaurants to refrain from having large parties or celebrations out of respect for the seriousness of the current political situation.
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