Happy Christmas, O Prisoners Of The Little Town of Bethlehem

Happy Christmas, O Prisoners Of The Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem How still we see thee lie Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight

by Stuart Littlewood

While carving the turkey for your family and merrily quaffing mulled wine ‘midst happy laughter, remember that the romantic Little Town of Bethlehem at the centre of our childhood Christmases is now “an immense prison” in the words of Michel Sabbah, former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and entirely surrounded by Israel’s ugly 8-metre separation wall bristling with machine-gun towers.

The good citizens of Bethlehem are cut off from their capital Jerusalem, only six miles away, the rest of the West Bank and the whole world.

Consider that the United Nations, for obvious reasons, designated Jerusalem and Bethlehem a protected international zone under UN administration. Israeli rule was not to be permitted.

Consider also that when Palestine was under British mandate Christians accounted for 20 per cent of the population and how 63 years of terror, illegal occupation, dispossession, interference and economic wrecking tactics have whittled their numbers down to less than 2 per cent.

Consider that, at this rate, there will soon be no Christians left in the land where Christianity was born… thanks to the cowardice and inaction of our political leaders.

How will the 26 bishops sitting around in our House of Lords, doing nothing, explain that to their dwindling congregations?

As usual, many Palestinians in Bethlehem and the other cities and villages throughout occupied Palestine will be unable to reunite with their families or celebrate Christmas at their holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem due to cruel Israeli-imposed travel restrictions. Imagine for a moment what sort of Christmas the half-starved children in blockaded Gaza are having this year, and every year… and what New Year prospects face all the other Palestinian children struggling to grow up with the Israeli army’s boot on their necks.

Deep down it is not about religion at all. The struggle is between justice and a criminal conspiracy of huge international proportions, the tentacles of which spread far beyond the Holy Land and impact on all of us, even here in the deepest recesses of England’s green and pleasant land.

In the New Year civil society must resolve to DO SOMETHING about it, one way or another, before the evil spins irreversibly out of control.


Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He is a frequent contributor to My Catbird Seat. For further information please visit : http://www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. ‘Free Palestine’ Book Now On Internet

December 23, 2011 – 6:40 am
Many thank yous for remembering their suffering. Its been on my mind all my adult life how they suffer under this imposter occupation.

Log in to Reply DaveE
December 23, 2011 – 8:28 am
You’re on a roll, as we say here in the former US of A. Another powerful piece. I hope it manages to penetrate some Christian cranium.

Log in to Reply Allesandro
December 23, 2011 – 8:56 am
While the Palestinians suffer through another Christmas of Occupation, the Israeli’s get to enjoy their holidays on stolen land.

But folks, not all is lost, for now we have some information here, that may help exonerate our Palestinian Oppressed Brothers, and just in time for Christmas. Thank You Dear Jesus.

……And so, now we have further details on just how we, the United States Of America, were attacked on 9/11/01 and by whom.

……Read it and WEEP my fellow American Patriots. I would like to hear our American, Israeli, and British LEADERS refute these allegations, in VERY SPECIFIC DETAIL, especially since the cost to the world, to America (in terms of lives, our Bill Of Rights , the US Constitution, and our Economy) has been So Great its incalculable. I’m Waiting.

Mossad ran 9/11 Arab “hijacker” terrorist operation

By Wayne Madsen on December 23, 2011
Wayne Madsen – via Opinion Maker January 27, 2011

British intelligence reported in February 2002 that the Israeli Mossad ran the Arab hijacker cells that were later blamed by the U.S. government’s 9/11 Commission for carrying out the aerial attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. WMR has received details of the British intelligence report which was suppressed by the government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

A Mossad unit consisting of six Egyptian- and Yemeni-born Jews infiltrated “Al Qaeda” cells in Hamburg (the Atta-Mamoun Darkanzali cell), south Florida, and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in the months before 9/11. The Mossad not only infiltrated cells but began to run them and give them specific orders that would eventually culminate in their being on board four regularly-scheduled flights originating in Boston, Washington Dulles, and Newark, New Jersey on 9/11.

The Mossad infiltration team comprised six Israelis, comprising two cells of three agents, who all received special training at a Mossad base in the Negev Desert in their future control and handling of the “Al Qaeda” cells. One Mossad cell traveled to Amsterdam where they submitted to the operational control of the Mossad’s Europe Station, which operates from the El Al complex at Schiphol International Airport. The three-man Mossad unit then traveled to Hamburg where it made contact with Mohammed Atta, who believed they were sent by Osama Bin Laden. In fact, they were sent by Ephraim Halevy, the chief of Mossad.

The second three-man Mossad team flew to New York and then to southern Florida where they began to direct the “Al Qaeda” cells operating from Hollywood, Miami, Vero Beach, Delray Beach, and West Palm Beach. Israeli “art students,” already under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration for casing the offices and homes of federal law enforcement officers, had been living among and conducting surveillance of the activities, including flight school training, of the future Arab “hijacker” cells, particularly in Hollywood and Vero Beach.

In August 2001, the first Mossad team flew with Atta and other Hamburg “Al Qaeda” members to Boston. Logan International Airport’s security was contracted to Huntleigh USA, a firm owned by an Israeli airport security firm closely connected to Mossad — International Consultants on Targeted Security – ICTS. ICTS’s owners were politically connected to the Likud Party, particularly the Netanyahu faction and then-Jerusalem mayor and future Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It was Olmert who personally interceded with New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to have released from prison five Urban Moving Systems employees, identified by the CIA and FBI agents as Mossad agents. The Israelis were the only suspects arrested anywhere in the United States on 9/11 who were thought to have been involved in the 9/11 attacks.

The two Mossad teams sent regular coded reports on the progress of the 9/11 operation to Tel Aviv via the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC. WMR has learned from a Pentagon source that leading Americans tied to the media effort to pin 9/11 on Arab hijackers, Osama Bin Laden, and the Taliban were present in the Israeli embassy on September 10, 2001, to coordinate their media blitz for the subsequent days and weeks following the attacks. It is more than likely that FBI counter-intelligence agents who conduct surveillance of the Israeli embassy have proof on the presence of the Americans present at the embassy on September 10. Some of the Americans are well-known to U.S. cable news television audiences.

(This story continues at TheTruthSeeker and also at Wayne Madsen’s site.)

……………………AND ON AND ON IT GOES. I truly believe, that this Years “Day Of Atonement” should go further.

Now that’s just me, but common people.

Is is better to die on your Feet, or live on your Knees.

Log in to Reply omop
December 25, 2011 – 12:54 pm
Israel’s prisoners are not only Bethlehem there in the Pentagon and Congress.

According to YNET Ynet reports:

Pentagon officials were the ones who requested that Congress approve a $106 million aid budget for Israel’s defense systems against missiles, on top of the Iron Dome budget. Congress chose to nearly double that amount, approving a budget of $235 million for 2012, amounting to $25 million more than in 2011.

Since 1949, Congress has distributed over $114 billion in U.S. aid to Israel.




4 responses to “Happy Christmas, O Prisoners Of The Little Town of Bethlehem

  1. Christ Under Occupation: Christmas in the Holy Land 2011
    by Eileen Fleming

    This weekend millions of cultural Christians throughout the world will flock into churches and sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and hear stories of Nazareth and Jerusalem.

    Too few know the 21st century realities about the land where Jesus/AKA The Prince of Peace promised that the Peacemakers are the children of God.

    The indigenous Christian population in the Holy Land has shrunk from 20% in 1948 to less than 2% in Israel and the West Bank today.

    In 1970, The World Christian Database reported that the Christian population in the West Bank was 5.3% of that population and in 2011 their numbers have shrunk to half that.

    Most all Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land never even visit the occupied territories or meet a Palestinian Christian for they tour with Israeli led groups and miss the reality tours conducted by organizations like SABEEL. . [Read more…

    The day is rapidly approaching when that troubled piece of real estate many claim is holy will be bereft of the most highly educated and consistently nonviolent Palestinians –the indigenous Palestinian Christians/AKA The Forgotten Faithful.

    Researches predict that if things do not change very soon, Holy Land churches will be nothing more than museums for Christian communities across the region are declining due to low birth rates coupled with increasing emigration due to the persecution and violence rooted in the now 44 years of Military occupation of Palestine.

    Some Christian leaders and many politicians claim the rise of radical Islam in the area is causing the decline of indigenous Christians and it does contribute, but the bigger truth is that it is religious fundamentalism within Judaism and Christianity entwined with Israeli-USA government policies versus justice and equal human rights for Palestinians that is most culpable!

    In Israel, the indigenous Palestinians are labeled “Israeli-Arabs” and approximately 9% are Christian.

    There are also growing numbers of Messianic Jews whose ethnicity is Jewish but they recognize Christ as the Messiah and they are supported by global Christian Zionists who profess strong support for Jewish people but are blind, deaf and dumb to their sisters and brothers in Christ: the indigenous Palestinian Christians who are a most Forgotten Faithful.

    Rachel’s Tomb lies on the opposite of The Wall where Eileen Fleming visited in 2007, photo by Meir Vanunu.
    The little town of Bethlehem is festooned with sparkling decorations but for those who know the brutal truth it is just smoke and mirrors over the military occupation of Palestine.

    Nabil Giacaman, co-owner of a souvenir shop called Christmas House is a third-generation woodcarver who daily witnesses around 200 tour buses that roll in from the Israeli side of The Wall for a quick visit to the Church of the Nativity. The pilgrim-tourists are all escorted directly from the bus to the church and then back again without any time to browse the nearby shops.

    Giacaman laments, “My total sales the other day were $4.13. My shop is in the middle of it all, but it gets worse every year. We have tourists, but not profits.” [1]

    The decades-old political conflict aided and abetted by USA foreign policy also is an economic battle raging between Israel and the West Bank based Palestinian Authority and the livelihoods of all Palestinian merchants.

    “At 1.1 million a year, the number of Christian pilgrims — those who describe their visit as chiefly spiritual in purpose — now surpasses Jewish tourism to Israel. Many of the top Christian sites are in the West Bank, and tourists have been returning in droves thanks to a recent lull in violence.

    “Many Christian pilgrims belie the image of austere travelers sleeping in religious hostels. These visitors, mostly Catholics and Christian evangelicals, spend about $200 a day on hotels, restaurants and souvenirs, compared with an average of $140 for all tourists, according to Israeli figures.” [Ibid]

    That would be gospel/good news for Palestinian businesspeople but the simple truth is that most all visitors to the Holy Land arrive by air in Israel and immediately join Israeli-led tours so they never get to see what is hid behind the faux-painted and extensively landscaped apartheid wall which is adorned with graffiti-against the occupation in the West Bank.

    Recently, Israel’s Tourism Ministry opened a “religious affairs desk” and launched Christian-themed websites and a YouTube channel to entice them.

    The Israeli government is also providing free trips for government officials and religious leaders from Latin America, Africa and Europe and in 2011, 81 members of Congress took an AIPAC political vacation and never spent an hour in occupied territory.

    For Christmas, Israel is offering free bus transportation to Bethlehem for midnight Mass so that the pilgrims can avoid the lengthy wait at Israeli checkpoints. The Tourism Ministry is also promoting an alternative to Bethlehem [under the control of the Palestinian Authority] by inviting pilgrims and foreign diplomats to the Israeli city of upper Nazareth for a Christmas market which will be staffed by Israelis and no doubt supplied with goods made in the settlements-all of which are illegal under international law.

    Palestinian Authority Tourism Minister Kholoud Daibes, contends that Israel collects 90% of pilgrim-related revenue and said, “They are promoting occupied territory as part of Israel.” [Ibid]

    The mayor of upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso refused to allow Christmas trees to be placed in his town square and told the AFP, “The request of the Arabs to put Christmas trees in the squares in the Arab quarter of Nazareth Illit is provocative. Nazareth Illit is a Jewish city and it will not happen — not this year and not next year, so long as I am a mayor. Nazareth is right next door and they can do what they want there.” [2]

    The town’s indigenous Palestinian and Christian minority accused him of racism. A 35-year-old Christian resident of Nazareth Illit nailed it, “The racism of not putting a tree up is nothing compared to the real racism that we experience here.”

    “When we asked the mayor to put up a Christmas tree in the Arab neighbourhoods of Nazareth Illit he said this is a Jewish town, not a mixed town,” said Shukri Awawdeh, a Muslim Arab member of the town council.

    Awawdeh said there were 10,000 Arabs, most of them Christian in the town and there was also a large community of Christian Russian immigrants.

    “We told him that decorating a tree is just to share the happiness and cheer with other people in the town,” said Awawdeh.

    “People here, Jews, Christians and Muslims live in harmony, but when the mayor does something like that, it does not make things better.” [Ibid]

    Last year, Israel began allowing Israeli tour guides to lead groups in Bethlehem and only Israeli approved tour guides are allowed into Israel. Legislation is also pending that will require all Jerusalem guides to be Israeli citizens.

    Professor Virginia Tilley wrote:

    “Just twenty years ago, Christian pilgrims could still walk to the old city of Jerusalem or Rachel’s Tomb on ancient trails laid down over five thousand years among the rocky hills of Judea, following the footpaths of prophets and disciples that wove among the springs and valleys of biblical legend. Just twenty years ago, shepherds still tended their flocks by night around the hills of Bethlehem, playing on wooden flutes. Now these sacred landscapes are paved over, blocked off, and the West Bank is an uglified mess of four-lane highways, broken up by hideous concrete barriers and electrified fences, the old olive terraces crushed and buried under acres of monolithic Jewish-only apartment blocs. The shepherds are arrested, harassed and gone. The ancient trails are gone forever. Millennia of humanity’s historical heritage, razed and effaced in a scant few decades, to serve not natural population growth but an artificial state-sponsored project to take over land in the name of an exclusive ethnic nationalism. The loss is heartbreaking on so many levels that it cannot be expressed.

    “And the world’s great Churches, whose cathedrals are nested in all this? To Israeli authorities, quiet pleas, in stiff meetings behind closed doors, tactical manoeuvres to keep privileges and access. To the world, silence or token gestures, even as Israel’s construction and archaeological excavations press up against their churches’ very walls.” [3]

    Maria Khoury writes from the last remaining self-sufficient Christian West Bank village of Taybeh, where they produce Holy Land olive oil and beer. Her latest email was titled:

    Politics at Christmas

    It’s that special time of year where you simply want to wish everyone a blessed holy Christmas celebration but I can’t help it that it’s the only chance I get to remind my friends of the horrors that are still happening where Christ was born. Every time I travel to Boston, I simply feel I am escaping from the day-to-day misery of Israeli occupation and take a break from seeing the new illegal Israeli settlement getting bigger in front of my kitchen window in Taybeh.

    By the way, Israel approved 4,000 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem. These days, I cannot even get the Orthodox Churches to invite me to speak about the Christian community in the Holy Land because people don’t want to hear politics. Although I don’t mean to be political but I am giving my life to promote a Christian presence in the very land where Christ lived, was crucified and resurrected for my salvation.

    I am very sorry, I have a need to tell someone that this year, Israel, doubled up its efforts in demolitions of Palestinian property over 500 homes, wells and other structures to add to over 24,000 Palestinian homes that have been demolished since 1967. This also means displacing more than 1,000 people just in the last few months not to mention over 700,000 Palestinians who ran away at gun point to save their lives when Israel was created in 1948 creating the catastrophe of the current eight million Palestinian refugees who have no right to return to their home.

    No one is paying attention to the twenty human rights organizations including Amnesty International reporting Jewish settler violence against Palestinians increased in 2011. The attacks from settlers are up 50% because maybe they are going crazy with Palestine’s effort for full UN membership and the recent admission of Palestine to UNESCO, thus over 10,000 olive trees were deliberately damaged this year alone to add to the over one million trees that have been uprooted since 1967. This is a huge destruction to Palestinian livelihood and to the mother earth.

    If anyone knows Newt Gingrich personally can you please tell him that with my own eyes I have seen my late father-in-law’s birth certificate (1925) that was entitled “State of Palestine” issued under the British Mandate!

    Mr. Gingrich said Palestinian people were invented. I did not know what he means? Because before the peace talks and Oslo Peace Agreement (1993) it was forbidden to even say the word Palestine. With my own eyes I have experienced a historic moment when I saw the Palestinian flag raised for the first time at the Friends Boys School in Ramallah in November 1996 without the students being shot at by soldiers or thrown in jail. Also I need Newt Gingrich to know that it took two Palestinian pounds (local language called Jeneh Philestinee) to pay for the tuition at FBS (1920’s) when our uncle Hanna Khoury was a student, which was a huge financial burden for his father the local Orthodox priest in Taybeh.

    Please forgive me to remind you that more hard worked tax payers’ money was sent to Israel this year because seven million dollars a day from the USA was not enough to keep up this awful occupation that includes hundreds of checkpoints and more illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It is currently costing more than 8 million dollars a day in military aid to support what I call the 51st state and very spoiled child of the USA. If you have an only child or an only son you might know what I mean. Parents are not supposed to have favorites but we do. Israel has ignored more than 65 United Nation resolutions.

    I am being so political that I have to keep saying the Jesus prayer every second to keep my sanity!

    Please, Dear Lord, remind me that these most holy days all eyes are on Bethlehem which is a big prison with the wall surrounding it and help me stop being political because people will pray for peace.

    “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born for you.” (Luke 2:13)

    We keep our hope because we believe life with Christ overpowers death. His Light overcomes the darkness of our times. Christ’s love is the answer to the current hate and discrimination.

    Palestine exists in the heart of every Palestinian child and a needed Christmas gift of 47 years would be the end of occupation. Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Wishing all of you a most blessed Holy Nativity celebration with all of your loved ones. And, I wish not to be remembered for politics but for someone who believes Christ is our greatest gift.- Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

    OK Maria, but please remember that Christ was never a Christian for that term was not even coined until the third decade after he walked your homeland a Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up against a corrupt Temple and agitated the status quo of a brutal Military Occupation.

    And “Christ you know it ain’t easy” to persist in the good fight for justice and peace when one’s only weapons are truth and love.

    John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)


    December 23, 2011 – 7:00 am
    Thanks Eileen. It really angers me that the imposters are even cashing in on the Christian buck. There is no end to their immoral, unethical, repulsive behaviour.

    Log in to Reply omop
    December 23, 2011 – 7:08 am
    Thoughtfull commentary Eileen. Merry Christmas and seconding ricohands. The linked video supports the repulsive behaviours.

    Log in to Reply ricohands
    December 23, 2011 – 10:38 am
    Eileen, was Jesus not against religions per se? Jesus plainly condemned placing the traditions of religion over the Word of God (Matthew 23:9).

    I know of Christian spiritualists who believe as much. They also believe that Jesus would never claim to be the Son Of God (The Holy Trinity was an addition by Catholic church). The rapture is yet more proof of man corrupting the Christian religion.

    Log in to Reply
    Eileen Fleming
    December 23, 2011 – 7:04 pm
    Jesus was born, lived and died a Jew and he was not interested in creating a new religion or seeking adulation.

    The rapture is a heretical and escapist theology but the first and worst heresy of Christianity was when Augustine penned the ‘Just War’ theory for then church and state got in bed together and “our problems stem from our acceptance of this dirty rotten system.”-Dorothy Day

    Log in to Reply bpete1969
    December 23, 2011 – 11:12 am
    Rico…the trinity is contained in the Bible not an addition by the Catholic Church.
    Here’s a handy chart for reference:

    Here’s another reference:


  2. “When we asked the mayor to put up a Christmas tree in the Arab neighbourhoods of Nazareth Illit he said this is a Jewish town, not a mixed town,” said Shukri Awawdeh, a Muslim Arab member of the town council.






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