Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Blog

Two new Israeli settlements, Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, will completely alter the two thousand-year-old geography and biblical landscape which connects two of the holiest cities in Christendom: Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Israeli checkpoints at breaks in the wall surrounding Bethlehem on its northern border already constitute a near-impenetrable barrier for Palestinian travelers, but now, beyond ethnic lines, Christians in Bethlehem are scared that at the current rate of Israeli expansion their holy places may soon be completely off-limits to them. 

Last week, the online edition of the Guardian published an interesting and timely article about Bethlehem’s Christian population. ‘If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed’, said Father Ibrahim Shomali, priest of Beit Jala parish in Bethlehem, one of those interviewed and whose quote serves as the title of the article. "We've already passed the stage where Bethlehem can be saved” he told Phoebe Greenwood, the article’s author.

Living under the current realities of occupation, Christians living in the Middle East’s beacon of Christianity make do with the status quo. But with displacement looming as a near-inevitability, citizens of Bethlehem are growing increasingly worried that they may lose what little they have left.

Read the full article here.

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