Thursday, February 1

MCC Palestine Update #131

MCC Palestine Update #131

1 February 2007

The meaning of peace gestures in the face of dispossession and colonization…

Though there was much optimism surrounding reports of meetings between Palestinian and Israeli leaders these past weeks, the news unfortunately remains much the same on the ground. The Wall continues to go up, having a seriously negative impact on Palestinian (“Israeli separation barrier is cutting off Palestinians from their livelihood,” The Independent, 23 January 2007,
article2177982.ece; “PM approves eastward move of section of separation barrier,” Haaretz, 31 January 2007,

Israeli colonization of the West Bank also continues unabated (“Abandoned Jordan Valley settlement to be repopulated by former Gaza settlers,” Haaretz, 27 December 2006,; “State Dept.: Israeli settlement violates road map,” Haaretz, 28 December 2006,; “W. Bank building drive: 200 new trailers since June,” Haaretz, 29 December 2006,; “Population Administration: West Bank settlements grew by 6 percent last year,” Haaretz, 10 January 2007,; “State issues new tender for 44 housing units in Ma'aleh Adumim,” Haaretz, 15 January 2007;

Poverty in the Occupied Territories is growing as is uncertainty about the future (“UN plea for millions in Palestinian aid amid fears of economic collapse,” Guardian, 8 December 2006,,,1967251,00.html; “Disillusion sets in amid poverty and factional conflict,” The Guardian, 25 January 2007,,,1997811,00.html). And the situation in Gaza remains desperate (“Israel’s ‘invisible hand’ in Gaza,” BBC, 17 January 2007,

And a sobering look back on last year by an Israeli human rights group gives us a pause (“B’Tselem: Israeli security forces killed 660 Palestinians during 2006,” Haaretz, 28 December 2006; and

Despite Hamas’ recognition of the Green Line as the border of a future Palestinian state (“Haniyeh calls for formation of Palestinian state on 1967 lines,” Haaretz, 19 December 2006,, there is still little to be optimistic about as many continue to talk about the death of the “two-state solution” (for more on this reality see Miko Peled’s article attached below “The Answers Have Changed”).


There has been much controversy following the release of President Jimmy Carter’s new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid (Simon & Schuster, 2006) due to his usage of the term apartheid to describe the situation Palestinians are experiencing in the Occupied Territories (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza). Though this has been widely reported lately, the fact is that such comparisons to apartheid under South Africa have been made by Palestinian, Israeli, and South African commentators for years. Many have described the ongoing situation of Palestinians being confined to isolated islands of land as the “Bantustanization” of the West Bank. South African legal expert John Dugard’s article “Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped” (attached below) is just one recent example. One map of what this looks like can be found here:

The following exchange between Jeff Halper, director of MCC partner the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD;, and three rabbis regarding President Carter’s new book is one sample of this larger conversation:
· Rabbi Eliyahu Stern: “A President's Foul Play”:
· Jeff Halper: “Yes Virginia, It Is Apartheid”:
· Rabbi Joshua Waxman: “Twisting the Truth”:
· Jeff Halper: “Untwisting ‘the Truth’”:
· Rabbi Susan Grossman: “Israel's Good Fences Against Bad Neighbors”:
· Jeff Halper: Moral Blindness:
· Rabbi Eliyahu Stern: “Mr. Halper, Please Respond to the Facts”:
· Jeff Halper: “The Occupation is the Issue”:

For more on this conversation, also check out some of these articles:
· Chris Hedges, “Worse Than Apartheid,”, 19 December 2006;
· Norman Finkelstein, “Carter's Real Sin is Cutting to the Heart of the Problem: The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter’s Book,” Counter Punch, 28 December 2006;
· Uri Avnery, “Israel and Apartheid,” CounterPunch, 23 January 2007;

O Little Town of Bethlehem

A visit to Bethlehem in December by British heads of churches received much attention here. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was among those visiting. As they entered Bethlehem, traveling through the Wall, he commented that the Wall is “a sign of all that is wrong in the human heart” (“Archbishop voices Palestinian solidarity at Bethlehem,” The Independent, 22 December 2006;
article2094657.ece; “Archbishop of Canterbury condemns Israeli wall around Bethlehem, Open Bethlehem,” Dr. Williams went on to say that the Wall symbolized “the terrible fear of the other, of the stranger, which keeps us all in one kind of prison or another,” from which God 2,000 years ago came to release people. The Archbishop of Canterbury said “We are here to say, in this so troubled and complex land, that justice and security are never something which one person claims and the expense of another, or which one community claims at the expense of another. We are here to say that security for one is security for all. And for one to live under the threat of occupation or of terror is a problem for all.”

Citing an Advent hymn which sings of “Jesus Christ, the one who comes the prison bars to break,” Dr. Williams said it was the church leaders’ “prayer and our hope for all of you that the prison of poverty and disadvantage, the prison of fear and anxiety, will alike be broken.”

Happy Holidays?

Over the past month and a half, this land saw many celebrations. For those of us who are Christian, we are most familiar with the Christmas holiday. But many of us are not aware that for those Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, there were actually three Christmas celebrations: one for the Roman Catholic and Protestant communities, one for the Eastern Orthodox communities, and one for the Armenian Orthodox community. For Palestinian Muslims, the celebration of ‘Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice, was a very meaningful time.

The celebration of Hanukah for Jews is recognizable to many by the menorah lamps that are lit. It has been said that the menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and its mission to be “a light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). “There is a strong emphasis that light is not a violent force; Israel is to accomplish its mission by setting an example, not by using force. This idea is highlighted in the vision in Zechariah 4:1-6. Zechariah sees a menorah, and G-d explains: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit.” (

This reminds us of the words of the psalmist that still challenge us today:

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear the Lord, on those who hope in the Lord's steadfast love. (Psalms 33:16-18)

Peace to you all,

Timothy Seidel

Timothy and Christi Seidel
Peace Development Workers
Mennonite Central Committee – Palestine

Attachments and Links:

· John Dugard, “Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 29 November 2006
· Miko Peled, “The Answers Have Changed,” Znet, 10 January 2007
· Jim Abourezk, “The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel,” Christian Science Monitor, 26 January 2007
· Amira Hass, “Life Under Prohibition in Palestine,”, 22 January 2007
· Nurit Peled-Elhanan, “Let our children live,” Electronic Intifada, 22 January 2007
· Akiva Eldar, “Forty years of ambiguity,” Haaretz, 1 January 2007
· Ramzy Baroud, “Democracy and Its Discontents in Gaza,” Palestine Chronicle, 27 December 2006
· Ran HaCohen, “The Embarrassment of the Wretched,” Electronic Intifada, 26 December 2006
· James Abourezk, “Support for Israel in Congress is Based on Fear,” Council for the National Interest, 12 December 2006
· Meron Benvenisti, “Threats of the future vision,” Haaretz, 17 December 2006
· Patriarch Michel Sabbah, “Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: Christmas Message 2006,” Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, 20 December 2006


Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped
John Dugard
29 November 2006

Former President Jimmy Carter's new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," is igniting controversy for its allegation that Israel practices a form of apartheid.

As a South African and former anti-apartheid advocate who visits the Palestinian territories regularly to assess the human rights situation for the U.N. Human Rights Council, the comparison to South African apartheid is of special interest to me.

On the face of it, the two regimes are very different. Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial discrimination that the white minority in South Africa employed to maintain power over the black majority. It was characterized by the denial of political rights to blacks, the fragmentation of the country into white areas and black areas (called Bantustans) and by the imposition on blacks of restrictive measures designed to achieve white superiority, racial separation and white security…

Many aspects of Israel's occupation surpass those of the apartheid regime. Israel's large-scale destruction of Palestinian homes, leveling of agricultural lands, military incursions and targeted assassinations of Palestinians far exceed any similar practices in apartheid South Africa. No wall was ever built to separate blacks and whites.

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The Answers Have Changed
Miko Peled
10 January 2007

Until about ten years ago the answer to the question of how to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East was clear: Allowing the Palestinians to establish a free, independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel. But this answer known as the “Two State Solution” belongs to a reality that no longer exists. Today, after 40 years of occupation the West Bank is riddled with settlements and highways designated for Jews only; Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza are imprisoned within a wall, impoverished and starved and there is no political will within Israel to partition the land of Israel and allow Palestinian independence - all of which indicate that clearly the answers have changed…

One possible answer to the difficult question of the Israeli Palestinian conflict could be drawn from the fact that Israel, by ruling over two nations is already a bi-national state. The solution could be to replace the current system whereby only Israeli Jews enjoy the freedoms and rights of full citizenry, with one that will allow Palestinians to enjoy those rights as well. This will create a fully democratic state in which both Israelis and Palestinians live as equals, protected by a constitution that allows both people to express their national, religious and cultural identities.

This option of a constitutional democracy that includes both Israeli Jews and Palestinians under one state is without a doubt one of the more difficult answers. After 2000 years in exile and having survived the Nazi holocaust, the Jewish people rose from the ashes like the phoenix to create a state they can call their own. Now it seems that securing the future of the people of Israel in the land of Israel will require not only vision but also genuine political compromise.

Bringing an end to the Israeli Palestinian conflict demands a serious look into the events that took place between the years 1947 and 2007: The State of Israel was created at the expense of another nation. The choice today is to fight until the last drop of blood has been shed, or to recognize the need to establish a political framework that will allow both people to live together in peace.

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Christian Science Monitor
The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel
Jim Abourezk
26 January 2007

Branded as 'educational,' these trips offer Israeli propagandists an opportunity to expose members of Congress to only their side of the story.

Democrats in Congress have moved quickly – and commendably – to strengthen ethics rules. But truly groundbreaking reform was prevented, in part, because of the efforts of the pro-Israel lobby to preserve one of its most critical functions: taking members of Congress on free "educational" trips to Israel…

Pro-Israel groups worked vigorously to ensure that the new reforms would allow them to keep hosting members of Congress on trips to Israel. According to the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, congressional filings show Israel as the top foreign destination for privately sponsored trips. Nearly 10 percent of overseas congressional trips taken between 2000 and 2005 were to Israel. Most are paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, a sister organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the major pro-Israel lobby group…

These trips are defended as "educational." In reality, as I know from my many colleagues in the House and Senate who participated in them, they offer Israeli propagandists an opportunity to expose members of Congress to only their side of the story. The Israeli narrative of how the nation was created, and Israeli justifications for its brutal policies omit important truths about the Israeli takeover and occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What the pro-Israel lobby reaps for its investment in these tours is congressional support for Israeli desires. For years, Israel has relied on billions of dollars in US taxpayer money. Shutting off this government funding would seriously impair Israel's harsh occupation.

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Life Under Prohibition in Palestine
Amira Hass
22 January 2007

All the promises to relax restrictions in the West Bank have obscured the true picture. A few roadblocks have been removed, but the following prohibitions have remained in place. (This information was gathered by Haaretz, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Machsom Watch)

Standing prohibitions

* Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are forbidden to stay in the West Bank.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter East Jerusalem.
* West Bank Palestinians are forbidden to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter the Jordan Valley.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter villages, lands, towns and neighborhoods along the "seam line" between the separation fence and the Green Line (some 10 percent of the West Bank).
* Palestinians who are not residents of the villages Beit Furik and Beit Dajan in the Nablus area, and Ramadin, south of Hebron, are forbidden entry.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter the settlements' area (even if their lands are inside the settlements' built area).
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter Nablus in a vehicle.
* Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are forbidden to enter area A (Palestinian towns in the West Bank).
* Gaza Strip residents are forbidden to enter the West Bank via the Allenby crossing.
* Palestinians are forbidden to travel abroad via Ben-Gurion Airport.
* Children under age 16 are forbidden to leave Nablus without an original birth certificate and parental escort.
* Palestinians with permits to enter Israel are forbidden to enter through the crossings used by Israelis and tourists.
* Gaza residents are forbidden to establish residency in the West Bank.
* West Bank residents are forbidden to establish residency in the Jordan valley, seam line communities or the villages of Beit Furik and Beit Dajan.
* Palestinians are forbidden to transfer merchandise and cargo through internal West Bank checkpoints.

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The Electronic Intifada
Let our children live
Nurit Peled-Elhanan
22 January 2007

Bassam Aramin spent nine years in an Israeli jail for being a member of the Fatah in the Hebron area and trying to throw a grenade at an Israeli army Jeep which was patrolling in Occupied Hebron. On Wednesday morning, an Israeli soldier shot his nine-year-old daughter, Abir, in the head. The soldier will not spend an hour in jail. In Israel, soldiers are not imprisoned for killing Arabs. Never. It does not matter whether the Arabs are young or old, real or potential terrorists, peaceful demonstrators or stone throwers. The army has not conducted an inquiry in Abir Aramin's death. Neither the police nor the courts have questioned anyone. There will be no investigation. As far as the Israeli Defense Forces are concerned, the shooting did not happen. The army's official account of her death is that she was hit by a stone that one of her classmates was throwing "at our forces."

We who live in Israel know that stones thrown by 10-year-olds do not blow brains out. Just as we see every day the Israeli jeeps circling Palestinian children on their way to and from school and greet them with stun-bombs, "rubber" bullets and riot control gas…

The so-called enlightened, western world does not get what is happening here. The whole enlightened world stands aside and does nothing to save little girls from murderous soldiers. The enlightened world blames Islam, as it once blamed Arab nationalism, for all the atrocities the non-Islamic world is inflicting upon Muslims. The enlightened west fears little girls with scarves on their heads. It is terrified of boys in keffiyehs. And in Israel, children are educated to fear, most of all, the fruits of the Muslim womb. Therefore, when they become solldiers, they see nothing wrong in killing Palestinian children "before they grow." But Basam and Salwa and all of us -- Jewish and Arab victims of the Israeli occupation -- want to live together just as we die together. We see our children sacrificed on the altar of an occupation that has no basis in law or justice. And, outside, the enlightened world justifies it all and sends more money to the occupiers.

If the world does not come to its senses, there will be nothing more to say or write or listen to in this land except for the silent cry of mourning and the muted voices of dead children.

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Forty years of ambiguity
Akiva Eldar
1 January 2007

The year 2007 will mark 40 years since the occupation of the West Bank, or 40 years since the liberation of Judea and Samaria. Next year, we will celebrate Jerusalem Day, the unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, or 40 years since the reunification of the capital…

In slogans, Jerusalem is a unified city. In practice, the separation fence cuts off thousands of Palestinians residing inside the municipal borders of Jerusalem. The discriminatory policy of ministries and the municipality illustrates the ambiguity between the ethos of the city's unification and its Judaization. Israelis are perfectly fine with this ambiguity. Who cares whether this is inconvenient for the Palestinians? Similarly with regard to the Gaza Strip: Israel has disengaged from inside the territory, but continues to control it from beyond. In a situation in which the recognized government in the Gaza Strip is not sovereign, there is ambiguity whether Israel is completely relieved from responsibility for the fate of the residents in this miserable region.

In the West Bank, the parts that official annexation has skipped over, the military commander is sovereign, and, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli citizens should not be settled there. The ambiguous term "administered lands" was invented, "state lands" is pulled out of Ottoman law, and we declare that "everything is up for negotiation." Everything, except the "settlement blocs," of course, whose borders (how could it be otherwise) are ambiguous and are unacceptable to the other side. To enable expansion of the settlements, contrary to international promises, we invent the excuse of having to meet the needs of "natural growth" whose scale is ambiguous…

Following such a long and fervent addiction to the drug of ambiguity, it is no surprise that the leadership and public are confused by challenges like the Arab League resolution of March 2002, which is based on a very clear principle: land for peace. It is much more convenient for them to have a road map without lines and celebrations of "unification" with empty slogans.

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Palestine Chronicle
Democracy and Its Discontents in Gaza
Ramzy Baroud
27 December 2006

Hamas did not come to power on the back of an American tank, like more or less the pro-Washington regime in Iraq, or via an Israeli sanctioned and armed political system of corruption and elitism, like the one concocted following the signing of Oslo in 1993. It neither imposed nor manipulated its way to power. It was the outcome of an overwhelming democratic process, ironically enough, a part of America’s democratic drive in the Middle East, itself a distraction from its horrendous failures in Iraq.

So what went wrong?

The election of Hamas sent shock waves across the Middle East, for it offered an Islamic alternative that didn’t defy the norms of democracy, but seemed capable of locating a method for a lasting union between the two, unlike the Algerian example, which inspired the most destructive civil war.

Second, it crippled the Bush administration’s vision of democracy in the Middle East, one that is cemented with the assumption that pro-American regional allies can possibly achieve a façade of democracy without any major overhauling of their political systems that might endanger US interests. The Iraqi and Egyptian presidential elections were hoped to be the models to follow, not that of Hamas.

Third, Hamas’ win, mostly based on its anti-corruption ticket, has threatened to destroy and filter out an utterly corrupt political system that the Palestinian Authority’s echelons have enjoyed, with full Israeli backing. The authority’s structure, as constructed by Oslo, has produced one of the most corrupt and corruptible political regimes, with full reliance on American and European aid, money that has barely tricked down on the oppressed multitudes.

Palestinians had no illusions that electing a government under occupation doesn’t change the status quo of their beleaguered lives, but it could, they hoped, bring an end to the nepotistic system espoused at home.

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Electronic Intifada
The Embarrassment of the Wretched
Ran HaCohen
26 December 2006

"[T]he relations between Israel and the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank are not governed by Israeli law, but by international law."

That's indeed one of the greatest pearls I have ever read in this context. I challenge the legal expert and the honorable historian to supply one piece of evidence for a single aspect of "the relations between Israel and the Palestinians" - i.e., of the occupation (a term the writers carefully avoid) - which is actually "governed" by international law.

Does international law allow creating settlements and moving the occupier's population to occupied land? Does international law allow deporting occupied persons, individually or en masse? Does international law allow constructing the apartheid wall? Does international law allow setting hundreds of checkpoints and a permit system that makes Palestinian economic and even family life utterly impossible? Does it allow confiscation of land and property, as Israel's occupation forces constantly practice? International law does not allow any of these. Israel does not respect a single paragraph of international law, which, according to Schama and Julius, "governs" its relations with the Palestinians.

If a history student claimed, say, that in the 17th-century Dutch Republic certain relations were "governed" by some legal principle, not bothering to mention that that legal principle was not accepted by the concerned party, was not implied, and had no impact on reality whatsoever, I am sure Prof. Schama would finish him off, rightly dismissing his statement as pure charlatanism. But when Israel's occupation is at stake, Schama himself readily resorts to this kind of demagoguery.

One doesn't have to be a professor of history at Columbia to know that historical analogies are always controversial, simply because history never really repeats itself. The apartheid analogy has been under fire, too: e.g., because unlike the blacks in South Africa, the Palestinian liberation movement struggles for a nation-state and not for a single multi-ethnic one. I myself agree with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who recently said that what Israel is doing in the occupied territories is worse than apartheid; "apartheid" has by now turned into a euphemism. Dismissing an historical analogy, as Schama and Julius are doing, is always easy.

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Council for the National Interest
Support for Israel in Congress is Based on Fear
James Abourezk
12 December 2006

I can tell you from personal experience that the support Israel has in the Congress is based completely on political fear -- fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress -- at least when I served there -- have any affection for Israel or for its Lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel. I've heard too many cloakroom conversations in which members of the Senate will voice their bitter feelings about how they're pushed around by the Lobby to think otherwise. In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the Lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the Lobby's animosity by making their feelings public.

Thus, I see no desire on the part of Members of Congress to further any U.S. imperial dreams by using Israel as their pit bull. The only exceptions to that rule are the feelings of Jewish members, whom, I believe, are sincere in their efforts to keep U.S. money flowing to Israel. But that minority does not a U.S. imperial policy make…

I believe that divestment, and especially cutting off U.S. aid to Israel would immediately result in Israel's giving up the West Bank and leaving the Gaza to the Palestinians. Such pressure would work, I think, because the Israeli public would be able to determine what is causing their misery and would demand that an immediate peace agreement be made with the Palestinians. It would work because of the democracy there, unlike sanctions against a dictatorship where the public could do little about changing their leaders' minds. One need only look at the objectives of the Israeli Lobby to determine how to best change their minds. The Lobby's principal objectives are to keep money flowing from the U.S. treasury to Israel, requiring a docile congress and a compliant administration. As Willie Sutton once said, "That's where the money is."

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Threats of the future vision
Meron Benvenisti
17 December 2006

The trouble is that the Jewish majority has been educated on the perception that there is only one legitimate collective in the homeland, and therefore it is unable to think in terms of a shared homeland, and the recognition of the existence of a neighboring national minority is too hard to bear.

Institutionalized ethnic separatism among the Arab minority is a direct result of a mistaken policy; it is not the Arabs who have created the separatism but rather the Jews. Their oppression of the Arabs and their discrimination against them are, in every area, based on clearly ethnic criteria, and the crystallization of an alienated Arab minority is an inevitable result.

Now that the Arabs have responded to the challenge and are demanding that they be recognized as a national minority, their demand is being depicted as "a declaration of war," as a call for the elimination of the Jewish state and for, worst of all, a "binational state"…

The binational bogeyman has emerged in order to prevent any real attention being paid to the challenge of the Arab "vision," but there is a more certain way to put off any serious discussion of the collective rights of Israel's Arab citizens: the excuse of the Palestinian state. One of the reasons for the Zionist left's support for its establishment is its aspiration to iron out the contradiction between the principle of communal-national equality and the discrimination against the Arab-Israeli minority. Therefore, they hold that the desires of the Arabs of Israel "must be expressed in the Palestinian state that will arise, and not in Israel."

And indeed, there is an apparent connection between the "vision" and the situation in the territories. When it becomes clear that a Palestinian state will not arise, the documents of the Palestinian public in Israel will come to serve as the political program of all the Palestinians, in Israel and in the territories alike. This will not be the first time that the "Arabs of 1967" will learn from their brothers, "the Arabs of 1948."

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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: Christmas Message 2006
Patriarch Michel Sabbah
20 December 2006

1. I wish you all a Blessed Christmas.

Brothers and Sisters here in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus, I wish each and every one of you joy, serenity, tranquility and peace. This year again, Christmas is coming to Bethlehem amid the same circumstances of death and frustration, with the Wall and the checkpoints on the ground and in the hearts. The occupation and deprivation of freedom on one side, and fear and insecurity on the other, continue as before. Gaza remains a big prison, a place of death and of internal Palestinian dissension. Even children have been killed. And everyone, including the international community, remains powerless to find the right road to peace and justice. Fear of the future has engulfed the entire region: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan. For everyone, the future is at stake. In this context, world terrorism is feeding on all of the open wounds.

2. That is the way Christmas is seen today from Bethlehem. And yet, the Christmas message is meant to be one of life, peace, and justice. The prophet Jeremiah said: “In those days, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land … and Jerusalem shall dwell in security” (Jer 33, 15-16). And Isaiah extended his vision to include all nations: “So will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all the nations” (Is 61, 11). Saint Paul, for his part, in the second readings of the Advent Season, tells us that we enter into the ways of justice and peace through love of neighbor and through holiness: “May the Lord increase you and make you overflow with love for one another and for all … and may he strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before God” (1 Thes 3, 11).

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