Bethlehem honors Jerusalem and Gaza this Christmas season


By Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh* | Sabbah Report |


Groups in the Bethlehem area dedicate a series of events called Shepherds’ Nights (December 23-25) to (increasingly being de-Palestinized) and hold a commemoration and protest asking to lift the siege on (December 31st).

See program below and join us (also we could use volunteers, please email me if you can help).

Here in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace was born in an area ruled by a tyrant ruler (King Herod while claiming Judaism engaged in slaughter of Aramaic speaking natives) who was supported by a world empire.

Here where 2000 years later, natives are still engaged in a struggle against tyrant rulers supported by distant empires. Here where civil resistance flourished and where its history over millennia is yet to be told.

Here where Jesus did not spare the money changers in front of the temple nor did the early Christian descendents (Muslim and Christian) spare the rulers from their anger at injustice starting a number of uprisings to challenge the brutality of and colonization (we call such an uprising a shaking off or Intifada).

Here where life is so abnormal today that visiting internationals no matter how prepared are always shocked to see concentration camps surrounded by walls, Nazi-like behavior of occupation soldiers brought from around the world to police native people, and Palestinian officials who keep accommodating the occupation and finding out that the demands of the occupation keep increasing.

But here is also where love and hope grow and where people of all backgrounds (religions and ethnicities) get together to work for peace (and not just talk about it). Come and see.

You may want to see this Video of (at least last) Christmas in the Holy Land and an article I wrote about Christmas under occupation.

Shepherds’ Nights Festival 2009

Join us this Holiday Season and show your support of
23 – 25 December (All events at the YMCA Beit Sahour) *
Theme: For Jerusalem

Day One – Wednesday 23:
17:00 Opening and Welcoming.
17:30 Band Show.
18:00 Dabka Dance Performance.

Day Two – Thursday 24:
15:00 Children show and Christmas Gifts Distribution.
16:30 Christmas Service at YMCA Shepherds’ Grotto.
21:30 Choir Performance – Christmas Hymns.

Day Three – Friday 25:
16:00 Gathering at the Greek Orthodox Shepherds Field.
16:30 Candle Procession towards the YMCA Beit Sahour (Jerusalem theme).
17:30 Dabka Group Performance.
18:00 Christmas Carols.

* Organized By Palestinian Center for Rapprochement, Siraj Center, East Jerusalem YMCA / Beit Sahour Branch, and YMCA-YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative

31 December 2009, 4-6 PM: Vigil and commemoration in Bethlehem to honor the victims of last year’s massacres and to demand lifting the siege on Gaza. There will be simultaneous events around the world and a march on Gaza.

In Bethlehem, it is planned to have Children read names honoring the 300+ children murdered in Gaza a year ago and to pray and pledge to work for peace in 2010 (Organized by several groups in the Bethlehem area).

Again, we could use your support in many ways (volunteers, donations, etc) and you are always welcome to visit us here in Palestine.

* , PhD, A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home. Author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle.