Monday, July 26, 2010


The place that Christians hold as the birthplace of Christ has been turned into a prison, essentially. We spent a day in Bethlehem, mostly at Bethlehem University, meeting with students and learning, learning, learning. The situation for the Palestinian Christians, in particular, is bad and getting worse. They are basically imprisoned by the apartheid wall that is being built around them. They haven’t much left of their economy, because fewer and fewer tour groups come here. Getting through the checkpoints in the wall is difficult and time consuming---not to mention intimidating, which makes people not want to come here. We sang Christmas carols in Shepherd’s field, we visited the Church of the Nativity--- the damage from the Israeli mortars that were fired into it (and into Casa Nova—the Franciscan Guest house next door) in 2002 appears to be cleaned up---but you can still see bullet holes. That bit of news didn’t appear in our media---probably because Christians in America would be outraged.

Bethlehem feels sad and stifling. I’m sure Jesus is weeping over Bethlehem, too.

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