Bethlehem is in grave danger

Posted by Rawan Elbaba on December 08, 2017 in Blog

mccollum.jpgAs the world gets ready to celebrate Christmas and sing about Bethlehem, not many actually know about the town where Jesus was born, or the people who live in it today. The town is situated south of Jerusalem in the West Bank, an area that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Bethlehem is in grave danger today, as encroachment of illegal settlements and walls, coupled with restrictive military closures, are threatening the ancient city’s vibrancy and diversity. 

On paper, US policy has long opposed the occupation of the West Bank, but little has been done to end the military closures encircling Bethlehem and cities like it in Palestine. Because the US plays a major role in the Middle East, and because its policy decisions can have a major impact on life in the region, we believe it is crucial for US legislators and policymakers to learn about what is unfolding in Bethlehem, and explore how the US can play a more productive role in protecting the city and the rights of its residents. 

Leila Sansour, a filmmaker from Bethlehem, has been documenting events unfolding in her city over the past decade. On Tuesday, December 12 she will join us for a screening of her film ‘Open Bethlehem,’ which brings viewers both the story of Bethlehem and the reality of the challenges faced by its communities.  

In addition to making the film, Sansour is the creator of the Open Bethlehem passport project that has brought the story of Bethlehem to people all over the world. Developed with the Bethlehem Governorate, the passport invites people to become “citizens” of Bethlehem, advocating for its freedom as a “light to the world, and to all people who uphold the values of a just and open society.” We passed out these personalized passports to all members of Congress in hopes that they will join us for this important screening and discussion. 

As concerned constituents about the plight of Bethlehem, we are urging you to take action and tell your members of Congress to attend the ‘Open Bethlehem’ screening with us.

WHEN: December 12, 2017 from 2 – 3 PM

WHERE: Rayburn HOB (Gold Room)

WHAT: Screening of ‘Open Bethlehem’ and discussion with filmmaker Leila Sansour