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  • PHOTOS: Palestinian Santas protest the occupation in Bethlehem

    Roughly 100 people march on a checkpoint in Bethlehem to protest the occupation and mark Christmas. Israeli forces respond by pepper-spraying and teargassing the demonstrators. Text by Oren Ziv. Photos by Oren Ziv, Keren Manor and Shahaf Polakow Around 100 members of the Palestinian Popular Committees marched towards one of Bethlehem's main checkpoints on Friday to protest the occupation. The demonstration was also held to mark Christmas, with some of the protesters dressed as Santa Claus. Private security forces on the scene, who were not expecting the demonstration, pepper-sprayed the protesters. Border Police officers arrived a few minutes later and started pushing…

  • In Bethlehem, even running is a political statement

    Despite their difficult circumstances, Palestinians in Bethlehem find ways to remind the world that Israel's occupation cannot exist forever. The organizers of the Palestine Marathon, held annually in the West Bank city of Bethlehem since 2013, recently announced that its next run will take place on Friday 1st April, 2016. [tmwinpost] The event – one my most memorable highlights of 2015 – is a thrilling experience. The thousands that gathered in Manger Square, where the run kicks off, included Muslim and Christian Palestinians, internationals from dozens of foreign countries, and even some Israeli Jews. Some came to support the marathon’s…

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  • PHOTOS: Palestinian Santa Clauses clash with Border Police in Bethlehem

    Protesters held up posters with messages such as 'For Christmas I want every Palestinian child back home.' By Anne Paq and Mustafa Bader / A week before Christmas, Palestinians dressed up as Santa Claus marched toward the separation wall in Bethlehem last Friday, where they clashed with Israeli Border Police. The protesters chanted slogans and held up posters with messages such as "For Christmas I want every Palestinian child back home," in reference to the children who have been arrested by Israeli soldiers over the past two months. The nonviolent Santa Claus march was dispersed with tear gas, after…

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  • Zionist Christians’ war on the true meaning of Christmas

    The rhetoric of Christian Zionists consistently places loyalty to the modern state of Israel above the example and teachings of the Jesus born in Bethlehem whose birth Christmas celebrates. It's time to stop calling such groups Christian Zionists and instead use the term Zionist Christians, to more accurately reflect their priorities. Photos and text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ For the last two years, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Christian Zionist organization in the U.S., has sent email blasts urging their supporters to fight back against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by buying Christmas ornaments “Made in Israel.”…

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  • Photos of the Week: From a razor-wire Christmas to 'Marches for Freedom'

    This week: Former hunger striking Palestinian prisoner gets a taste of freedom; African asylum seekers march through central Tel Aviv and the Negev desert demanding recognition as refugees and an end to detentions; an art exhibit in Bethlehem brings occupation to pilgrims, one tear gas canister at a time; a week after massive storm, Gaza residents still struggle to recover from floods; Afghan asylum seekers march in Belgium; Tel Aviv homeless activists face eviction from tent encampment; and, Israeli journalists demand better wages and work conditions.  

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  • PHOTOS: This tear gas brought to you by the U.S.A.

    Text by Ryan Rodrick Beiler On the same day that Bethlehem's minister of tourism noted that the US government provided $400,000 to decorate the city for Christmas, local activists brought a few more US-sponsored ornaments to show to visitors in this West Bank town at the height of its tourist season. The activists delivered used tear gas grenades — that had been fired by Israeli forces at Palestinian youth less than two kilometers away in Aida Refugee Camp that same day — and hung them on a tree in Manger Square. One activist from Aida Camp was arrested for his participation in…

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  • PM Netanyahu's Christmas message: We are better than the Arabs (WATCH)

    We now open our Christmas celebrations with the traditional Islamophobic message from the Prime Minister's Office: While Prime Minister Netanyahu is using the holiday to present his tea-party talking points against anything Muslim, it's a good time to remember that roughly 200,000 more than 170,000 Palestinian Christians are living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, without proper political representation, freedom of travel, equality before the law, and many other civil and human rights. Unlike the Israeli prime minister, the occupation doesn't know the difference between a Muslim and a Christian.

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  • Asylum seekers arrested in Tel Aviv raid after authorities announce holiday reprieve

    Immigration authorities announced a halt to arrests during the holidays. But just before the announcement went into effect, and as holiday preparations and celebrations got underway in south Tel Aviv, asylum seekers found themselves under arrest and at risk of deportation. By Rami Gudovitch Friday was a rainy day in Tel Aviv. The head of the immigration authorities, Amnon Ben Ami, had issued a press release promising to cease all arrest operations for the duration of the Christian holidays and New Year’s Eve. The Levinsky Park multi-lingual library, an open library located at the center of the park, was closed…

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  • Support Yuval Ben-Ami's Christmas journey in the holy land

    Dear +972 readers, Christmas – it all began here – and today, it hides around the holy land in some unexpected places. This December, +972’s resident travel writer Yuval Ben-Ami will find the smells, sounds, customs, and lives that go unnoticed at the heart of a holiday celebrated by billions around the world, and bring them to you. He’ll spend 10 days traveling Israel and the West Bank looking for Christmas: Israeli Christmas, Palestinian Christmas, the Christmas of pilgrims, of monks and nuns, Christmas in the Galilee, Christmas in the desert, Christmas in Bethlehem, Christmas in Tel Aviv. Christmas in…

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  • How the mayor (of a Nazareth suburb) stole Christmas

    Nazareth, Jesus's hometown, is today a bustling city of over 70,000 people. The people of Nazareth are termed "Arab citizens of Israel" or "1948 Palestinians," depending on one's politics. About a third of Nazarenes are Christians, the rest are Muslim. On the hill rising above the dense town and its imposing Basilica of the Annunciation, lies Upper Nazareth (Hebrew: "Nazareth Illit"). This community was founded by Israel in 1957, a Jewish town situated so as to overlook the country's largest solidly Arab community. However, realities in the Galilee transcend nationalist aspirations. Families from Nazareth proper have been moving over the…

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