Monday, November 27, 2006

Letter from Bethlehem

Letter from Bethlehem

The Following was received October 24, 2005 from Bethlehem and this page was updated July 17, 2006:

[FYI-please read BLOG entry 10/24/05 RE: personal connection]

Dear World:

We are writing you from the city of Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ was born. The city of diversity where Christians and Muslims live side-by-side and peoples of all faiths and cultures are welcomed. Bethlehem is now facing unprecedented danger.

As citizens of this Holy city, we welcome you to witness the new and sad facts. The city is completely encircled by the wall and the bypass roads. We would like to provide you with some facts about the reality of the city.


  • Israel claims that it built the wall to ensure security for its citizens.

  • The claim for security is nullified by the fact that the wall is NOT being built on the internationally recognized 1949 Green Line boundary between Israel and the West Bank. The wall is on Palestinian land that according to international law must be returned to Palestinians.

  • The direct effect of the wall is that 10% of the West Bank will be confiscated and Palestinians will be isolated from each other and from the world in prison-like zones.

  • The current wall is at least 360 km long (3 times as long and twice as high as the Berlin Wall); once completed it will reach over 700 km, completely encircling and dividing the West Bank.

  • 295,000 to 400,000 Palestinians will be isolated from the West Bank because their homes will fall between the Wall and the Green Line.

  • Rural populations will be walled off from primary urban centers where essential services are available, such as hospitals, schools, markets and places of worship.

  • The wall has two forms: cement and/or a fenced road. The cement wall ranges between 6-9 meters in height. The fenced roads range from 40-100 meters wide. Sniper towers, trenches, trace roads, patrol roads, gates, footprint detection fields, sensors, and cameras support both forms.

  • A system of "special permits" for Palestinians will be set up by Israel to allow for passage through the check points at the wall. Israel will have total control on the movement of the inhabitants and will seek their total “obedience” in order to get permits.

  • Seven villages (approximately 19,000 Palestinians) lie between the Green Line and Bethlehem will be completely isolated. These villages are the main vegetables and meat providers to the Bethlehem governorate.

  • The United Nations is already feeding over 1,100 families in the Bethlehem area through direct food aid. This number is likely to increase if subsistence farming declines due to restricted access to farmlands.

  • The route of the wall will insure that all settlements’ clusters fall on the Israeli side together with most of the Palestinian agriculture land and underground water.

  • About twelve to fifteen Palestinian residential buildings at the entrance of Bethlehem are under threat of evacuation or demolition, in addition to the Armenian Church property and an Islamic cemetery.

  • After the completion of the wall, we expect percentage of migration to get higher to endanger the historical existence of the Christian community in Bethlehem. As of this publication, more than 200 Palestinian Christian families have migrated to other countries.

This map was prepared by Negotiation Affairs Department.

Prepared by Husam Jubran and Eilda Zaghmout



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