Revisit Bethlehem in 2004

John TyrrellAs so many people search for news of Palestine and Israel we include here material sent by Birmingham’s John Tyrrell and two snapshots from his video. After reading a post on this website, he wrote:

“I draw your attention to a video I took in 2004 which records a visit to Bethlehem. It came just after a meeting with Yasser Arafat when it was uncertain whether we could enter Bethlehem at all due to troop operations.”

On his blog he records that in 2004 a group of Birmingham councillors went on a privately funded fact-finding visit to Palestine and Israel. This included a visit to Bethlehem, although it was uncertain whether we would get in due to “military operations” taking place. The day before we had been in Jerusalem when a bus was blown up by a police officer from Bethlehem. As a result the army went in to blow up his house home to a dozen or so others. This video includes a visit to the ruins and interview with friends and family.

 Israeli settlements built on site of pine forestIsraeli settlements being built on the site of a pine forest

“The film begins with a drive through the narrow streets of Bethlehem to the Church of the Nativity. The commentary is by George Rishmawi, then working as a guide for the Holy Land Trust. Our driver is Isa (Jesus). We go inside the church where age old murals are peppered with gunshot holes. We met President Yasser Arafat earlier that day in January 2004 who had invited us to stay for dinner when we learned that we may not be able to get to Bethlehem, but we decided to go anyway.

“In Bethlehem we see the electrified barbed wire, since replaced by a huge concrete wall and then buildings shelled by Israeli gunships and artillery. We visited a home to see locally made artifacts, speak to the owner of the empty Re Israel & Palestine media smallerBethlehem Hotel and end the day at a well-known restaurant in a Bedouin tent.”

(Ed) The man opposite listed several tragic occurrences which had led a local youngster to the path of violence and called for truthful reporting after describing the media’s comparative lack of concern for Palestinian deaths.

Tomorrow: Israeli citizens “donate” their ballot to Palestinians


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