Maria, I absolutely know what you mean.
I went middle of December 2000, staying at the Faisal Hostel in East Al Quds.
I spent Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. Sweet memory. I slept that night with complete strangers who took me in.
I never saw Bethlehem in ruins, but I did see Nablus in ruins. I lived there for over 2 years on a 3-month Israeli visa, while I worked as a volunteer at An-Najah National University. Caught and deported by Israel, end of June 2003. Banned from ever going back.
Personal experience with Palestinians is everything!