Bethlehem is occupied

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.
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 had met with 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 visit a home to see locally made artifacts, speak to the owner of the empty Bethlehem Hotel and end the day at a well-known restaurant in a Bedouin tent.

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