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Miracles in Bethlehem

March 12, 2013

In Bethlehem today we walked past the Milk Grotto where supposedly Jesus was being Milk_Grottobreast fed, Mary spills some milk and the rock turns  really white. It’s near the Church of the Nativity, where crowds of people are bused in from Jerusalem, get off, line up to go through a building and then go back to their motels. Most are unaware of the political situation that most residents of Bethlehem face, that in 2002, the square they all line up in was full of Israeli soldiers and tanks.Church_Of_nativity_outside

They think a miracle happened in the buildings that humans have built, so they read their holy books, kiss their relics and walk on.


All I’ll say about they places I visited today is that if you are interested in the Occupation and want to know just how subversive the Israeli State is in cultural genocide of the Palestinians, then please following websites to learn more:

  • The Badil Centre’s online Ongoing Nakba Education Centre.  This site tells you the story of Palestinians from 1948 and their descendants who live legally as “no-people”, without a home or a state.
  • The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem to see just how good the State of Israel is at ethnically cleansing the Palestinians
  • The Holy Land Trust: for a grass roots group non-violently resisting the State to create a better future for the oppressed and oppressors in the state

Now, you can read everything I learned if you are interested, if not that’s OK, but you do need to know something.  The people we met in all three organisations today have these things in common -They are young, they are educated, they are wealthy.

They all have the opportunity to leave Palestine and live abroad where going to work or Lubyia from Badilschool does not involve harassment from the occupying army and police force. Two of them have American passports and have lived in the United States. Why do they stay?

One moved back to Palestine after she got married because she wanted to raise her kids in their home culture. She now has 3 children in their teens. To travel the 7km to Jerusalem and visit church on Easter and Christmas, her oldest daughter needs an individual pass to get through the check point. The Israeli Army issued passes to the whole family, except the eldest daughter. This is a deliberate tactic to stop Palestinians (both Christian and Muslim) from getting to Jerusalem and encouraging them to leave the country all together.

These three Palestinians also share in common that they face persecution, denial of their human rights, and an uncertain future. One works in a group that builds relationships with all parties and advocates non-violent solution, one researches the impacts of illegal JewishPeace_sign settlements in the West Bank and one advocates for the human rights of displaced Palestinians.

And all are more miraculous than a building that was the birth place of the Son of God or even where his Mother’s milk turned the stone white (even if we assume that that is all true), these resistors who thirst and seek to see righteousness prevail satisfy me. They make me realise that there is hope.

If they go through this persecution and choose to stick out, even lean in to it. What excuse do we have?



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