Paul McCartney said Wednesday he's carrying a message of peace for Israel and the Palestinians, rejecting criticism of his planned concert in Tel Aviv.

McCartney toured the West Bank town of Bethlehem, visiting the Church of the Nativity, built over the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The 66-year-old former Beatle ducked into the fourth-century church through its low, narrow entrance. He lit two long, tapered white candles in different parts of the church, saying each time they were "for peace."