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We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters, informing them of issues, events, debates and the wider context of the conflict. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.

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Did you know?

Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013


Today, Jesus would be born at a checkpoint

Preparations for Christmas in Palestine, as elsewhere, begin in Advent, December 2-24, most elaborately in Bethlehem, see photos. The Rev. Mitri Raheb on ‘cheap peace’ 1st plus 2 reports from Ma’an.

Palestinian  altar boys of the Greek Orthodox church take part in a procession before mass at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on the second Sunday of Advent. The church is on the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus. Photo by Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Christmas, Peace and the Wall

By Rev. Mitri Raheb/ Kairos Palestine, PNN
December 14, 2012

[A] few years ago while traveling in China, I was asked by a student in one of the schools: “What if Jesus was to be born today?” I replied: “If Jesus were to be born this year, he would not be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph might not be allowed to enter from the checkpoint, and so too the Magi, while the shepherds will be stuck inside the walls and can’t leave their little town. Jesus might have been born on the checkpoint like so many Palestinian children while the Magi and shepherds would be on both sides of the wall.”

Am I confusing you with the “nice” Christmas story? Christmas has become a “nice” feast of “a sort of peace” that no one really can fully describe. In fact, it is kind of a “cheap peace”, which is something to preach about when one is not well prepared, or a bit of wishful thinking, when one is not ready to do much. Christmas has become a season for “joyful peace talkers,” rather than “blessed peacemakers”.

In our Palestinian context, “peace talk” is often a good recipe for managing the conflict rather than resolving it. As the world continues to talk peace, Israel continues to build the wall and while Christians continue singing “O little town of Bethlehem”, Israel makes sure that this town stays as little as possible.

As little as a 2 square miles open air prison surrounded with walls, fences and trenches with no future expansion possibilities whatsoever.

No one understood peace as did St. Paul. He, a former Jewish leader, a zealot, a persecutor, and a hard liner, committed himself to making sure that a wall of separation was built and kept between his community and its enemies. He was ready to attack and even terrorize whoever dared to question the importance of this wall for the security of his community. However, this same radical person was radically transformed. He had a unique encounter that made him discover the real meaning of peace, and he described it as “breaking down dividing walls of hostility.” (Ephesians 2, 14) From that moment, the zealot Saul became the passionate apostle Paul. His great discovery was that if God himself in Christ has broken the walls of hostility between the human and the divine, then there is no place for walls between peoples, tribes, cultures and nations. For his conviction, he was ready to pay a heavy price.

At a time when a wall of hostility has been built around our little town, we all need to commit ourselves anew to breaking down all walls of hatred and hostilities, be they concrete walls or ideological, racial, political, social, and economical ones. From the hometown of Christ, we have no other message this year but that of St. Paul: “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us”.

Jerusalem Patriarch welcomes Christmas in Gaza mass

By Ma’an news
December 17, 2012

GAZA CITY — The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem marked the beginning of Christmas celebrations in a church service in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

“Jesus knows the meaning of homelessness, murder and injustice, but the Christmas holiday is about peace, tolerance and justice,” Fuad Twal told the congregation of a Roman Catholic church in Gaza.

The Jerusalem Patriarch said he hoped for justice and unity in Palestine, despite the difficult situation that the people of Gaza have experienced.

His Beatitude Fouad Twal, the ninth Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem since the reinstatement of the Latin Patriarchate (Roman Catholic) in 1847.

“The pain we collected in the past and should bring us the land in the future,” Twal said, congratulating the Palestinian people on the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Christmas tree lit in Bethlehem

By Ma’an news,
December 17, 2012

BETHLEHEM — A giant Christmas tree was lit on Saturday evening in Bethlehem’s Manger Square marking the beginning of Christmas celebrations in the West Bank city.

Palestinian municipal workers decorate  the central Christmas tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square. Photo by Musa al-Shaer/AFP

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad attended the ceremony, along with the mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun, the governor Abdul-Fattah Hamayil, the minister of tourism Rula Maaya and a large number of Christian clerics, Palestinian dignitaries and dozens of spectators.

Fayyad said he was welcoming the ceremony as a prime minister of the state of Palestine for the first time, after Palestine won non-member state recognition at the UN General Assembly last month.

“This is not the end, but rather the beginning of our efforts to obtain a state, bring an end to the tyranny and restore our land,” Fayyad told the crowds.

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