After a brief moment of contemplation in one of Christendom's holiest sites, the former Beatle lights a taper for peace
Photo: Getty Images
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There were enthusiastic scenes outside the Church of the Nativity, which Paul handled graciously, posing with fans and trying to greet each of them in their own language
Photo: Getty Images

Sir Paul spreads message of peace and love in the Holy Land

More than 40 years after the Israeli government banned the Beatles, fearing their 'corrupting' influence on the country's young, Paul McCartney is in the Middle East on a mission to bring "peace and love".

Lighting a taper in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, the veteran musician announced: "This candle is for peace. For all the people around the world. And especially in Israel and Palestine".

As news of the VIP visitor spread, fans gathered around the site believed to be Christ's birthplace - for photographs and in search of an autograph. The pop star handled it with his customary good humour, attempting to say Hello in all their languages though Russian and Ukranian foxed him.

One particularly enthusiastic group of wellwishers from Spain struck up a chorus of Yellow Submarine in their own language.

Paul - who's travelling with girlfriend Nancy Shevell and is due to play a concert in the country on Thursday - also popped into a nearby Palestinian school. After playing the piano and harmonica for the youngsters, he wished them 'Ramadan Karim', a traditional greeting during the fasting month of Ramadan.

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