Letter from Bethlehem

We got two full days of snow. It came with storm, so we found ourselves in a kind of emergency state. With so much snow falling on the roofs, water started to trickle down through the porous stones, and soon black spots appeared on the walls signaling humidity. 

Israel's continued domination and destruction in the Bethlehem area

Photo by Musa Al-Shaer. For weeks Israeli soldiers have been invading and reinvading the Bethlehem area, holding the residents captive in their homes. In the past two nights Israeli soldiers abucted 20 Palestinians from the Bethlehem area, adding them to the approximatly 9,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held, largely without charge, in Israeli jails. Normal life, as people outside the country understand it, has not existed for some time. Kristen Ess outlines the misery of daily life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. 

Letter from Bethlehem

We had this week two curfewed days, Friday and Saturday, while sometimes the nights are open and sometimes not. In the morning, people get used to carefully listen at 5:00 whether today there’ll be a curfew or not. People sometimes even recognize the creaky loudspeaker voice: “Oh, that is the Druze, you can’t hear well what he says.” 

The Israeli military kills four Palestinians a day

How can Palestinians resist the brutality of the Israeli military government. How can they survive it? One Palestinian journalist, a friend for the past year told me, “We chose non-violence and they occupied our kitchens.” Since Sharon was re-elected Israeli soldiers have killed 28 Palestinians. This is just in the past eight days. Kristen Ess wrotes from Bethlehem. 

Christmas in Bethlehem

At the last minute, at the end of the day before Christmas Eve, the Israeli government announced it would lift its curfew of Bethlehem. This was another move in the endless game of Israeli propaganda, and one that was expected. Thousands of eyes were on Bethlehem, the West Bank city that has been under curfew and reinvasion for the past month. Kristen Ess reports. 

Bethlehem, the "capital of Christmas," is dying

“Rather than celebrating birth, Father Sabbara plans to reflect on death — particularly the sickening reality that, just as in Jesus’s time, children are being killed by forces indifferent to their age or innocence. The latest victim is an 11-year-old girl leaning out of a window to watch the funeral procession of another child.” The Guardian’s Chris MacGreal files a somber report from occupied Bethlehem. 

Curfew tensions in Bethlehem

While walking up into the main Madbasseh street, Mary saw a toshe (quarrel) at a falafel place; about nothing she later heard, but the atmosphere and people’s faces were so threatening that she decided not to do shopping and return home. The tension is also palpable in the refugee camps which are crowded and bear a large share of the arrests. Toine van Teeffelen writes from Bethlehem. 

Field trip to Taybeh

On the occasion of Independence day, November 15, some 60 school and university students and teachers leave together for a fieldtrip to the village of Taybeh north-east of Ramallah. Toine van Teeffelen writes from Bethlehem.