Ibrahim Jaber, a Palestinian Christian living in Beit Sahour, has sent this Christmas message:
“The little town of Bethlehem looks gloomy in spite of all the Christmas decorations that the local authorities are adding to it. Yes, wherever one goes in the town one will notice these decorations. But still the JOY of Christmas and the PEACE Christmas brings around are lacking.
The Israeli apartheid wall and colonies are surrounding the town from all sides. Entry and exit to the town are subject to the Israeli Military Occupation’s degrading measures. Driving to other cities in the Palestinian Territories is also subject to the many Israeli Military Checkpoints on the streets leading to these cities.
Jerusalem, which lies only eight Kms to the north of Bethlehem, is out of reach for most of the city inhabitants. Without special permits issued by the Israeli Military Occupation Palestinians, Christians and Moslems alike cannot reach Jerusalem for their religious practices. 2000 years ago it was the Romans who were occupying the country, but they didn’t forbid Joseph and Mary from reaching the town where Mary gave birth to the King of Peace.
Unemployment and poverty are widely spread amongst Palestinians. In the Bethlehem area unemployment reaches 30%, and this is better than other Palestinian areas. Bethlehem lacks peace and dignity, as all other Palestinian areas. Peace that brings around dignity and prosperity. Peace that ends this inhuman Israeli Military occupation. Peace that enables Israelis, Palestinians to live side by side on equal footing without Occupier or Occupied each in his independent state.
May the King of Peace through His guidance make us in this region understand the needs of each other and work hard to achieve Peace.”