Permission to Narrate: Bethlehem: Living Between Tear Gas and Christmas Ornaments

In the Western imagination, the “little town of Bethlehem” is a romanticized, mythological town that appears on Christmas cards and is usually depicted by a bucolic nativity scene with wise men, animals, Mary, Joseph, Jesus in a manger, and a bright star above all.  In reality, Bethlehem is a besieged city surrounded by a 26-foot-high wall erected on much of its perimeter. This imposing edifice prevents many farmers from getting to their land and restricts residents from performing everyday actions, like going to school or work. By the time it is completed, 56 kilometers of this barrier—which many call the apartheid wall—will leave 12 communities physically separated from the rest of Bethlehem.Fully 85 percent of the Governorate of Bethlehem is classified as part of Area C—under complete Israeli control in all security and civil matters. In addition, there are 19 settlements—illegal according to international law and officially opposed by the U.S. government—surrounding the governorate which house over 100,000 Israeli settlers. In the last three months, there were 39 incidents of settler violence in Bethlehem—these are cases that involve assault, raids, destruction of property, abductions, injuries, and other aggressive acts perpetrated against Palestinians by Israeli settlers. Settler violence goes largely unpunished, so settlers feel they have tacit impunity for their actions.

Source: Permission to Narrate: Bethlehem: Living Between Tear Gas and Christmas Ornaments