"Why Are U.S. Christians Celebrating Israeli Policies Strangling Jesus' Birthplace?"

Anton Salman, a Palestinian Christian and the mayor of Bethlehem, writes, "These are no words to describe incarceration of Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem.  It is enclosed by 18 illegal Israeli settlements, segregated road networks and infrastructures. Bethlehem's 2,000-year-old contiguity with Jerusalem has been cut by a network of Israeli settlements and annexation, which also prevents the town from ever expanding further. ... Bethlehem is an example of what 50 years of Israeli occupation have meant for Palestine and Palestinians in general, and to the Christians of the Holy Land in particular. Ironically, in a few days, significant numbers of Christian evangelicals, mainly from the U.S., will come to celebrate those same Israeli policies strangling the birthplace of Jesus Christ. ... The conference, to be held in an Israeli hotel built on Palestinian, illegally confiscated land in occupied East Jerusalem, includes a tour in support of the illegal wall which surrounds Bethlehem.  They will also be taken to the lands of Beit Jala, to visit the illegal settlement of Gilo, thus supporting Israel's destruction of the Cremisan Valley and the dispossession of dozens of Palestinian Christian families."

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