Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Mersea Island could twin with holy city of Bethlehem

Mersea Island
Mersea Island could be twinned with Bethlehem by next year

A small island off the Essex coast could be twinned with Bethlehem.

A consultation is due to start on the plan to twin Mersea Island with the holy city.

If successful it would be the first formal twinning arrangement between the Palestinian territories and the UK. Trips could start next year.

Mersea mayor Peter Clements said: "We are aware that there is a political element about such links, but feel that we can do a lot to foster harmony."

Mersea Island has a population of 7,500 and is famous for its oysters.

Bethlehem has a population of about 30,000 and is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

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Mersea Island could be twinned with Bethlehem by next year



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