Jesus of Nazareth, who would grow up to become an amazingly inspirational teacher, was a Jewish Palestinian who was born at a time when Palestine was under the brutal rule of a foreign military occupation. Helena Cobban tells the story of Christmas.
Last year, Israel granted permits for close to 700 Gazan Christians to travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and other holy cities that draw thousands of pilgrims each holiday season, but not this year, Reuters reports, in what Gisha calls a “deepening” of separation policy of Gaza.
The Mondoweiss holiday gift guide is here! From our favorite books, to dresses with hand-stitched embroidery, ethically produced Hanukkah candles, hand-crafted olive wood nativity sets, and of course Mondoweiss swag we’ve pulled together some of our favorites for your end of the year gift giving.
Christmas is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year in Palestine, as both Muslims and Christians enjoy the celebrations with family and friends. In Bethlehem, the festivities are over the top with marching bands, a tree lighting ceremony, fireworks, and a visit from the Palestinian president. Each year thousands of people from all over the world travel to Manger Square in December to experience Christmas in the birthplace of Jesus. Yet, the Israeli occupation is never too far from people’s minds.
On Christmas, Robert Herbst calls on Christians to intervene with the Jewish community over Israel. “Speak truth to our power. Talk to us critically about what we are doing to the Palestinians. Not once, not twice, but over and over again.”
In light of Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this month where the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian Christians held subdued Christmas celebrations across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
By mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve crowds had thinned from the limestone plaza that is Manger Square, buffering Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity and its winding old city. International tourists lingered, but the bulk of the celebrators were Palestinians—Christian and Muslim alike. A handful of children under ten years old wore costumes and sold candies for 25-cents.