Christian pilgrimage sites in the Holy Land, including sites in Jesus’ birthplace of Bethlehem, will be inaccessible to foreign Christian travelers again this Christmas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge in the omicron variant.
Christmas is usually peak season for tourism in Bethlehem, where Jesus is believed to have been born, but few travelers are making the trek.
The year before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the globe, the numbers of visitors to the Church of the Nativity was unlike any we had ever seen. The queue went all around the inside of the church, all the way back to Manger Square outside the church, and the wait to get inside was three hours long. This great church must continue to be a light in the darkness for generations to come.
To seed librarian Vivien Sansour, seeds are living beings, and to see heirloom seeds disappearing is a human tragedy.
Hiking in the West Bank is bittersweet because its beauty threatened by Israel; Guardian; Jalal Abukhater
Israeli settlements and checkpoints are encroaching on the only escape from harsh reality available to Palestinians, says Jerusalem writer Jalal Abukhater…
‘I want Battir to go to hell’: Settlers move in on Palestinian World Heritage site; Yuval Abraham; 972 Magazine
Palestinians in the agricultural village of Battir, in the occupied West Bank, are increasingly encountering armed settlers who are trying to push them off their land.
Battle rages over Israel’s plan for industrial zone in unique West Bank landscape; Rina Bassist; Al Monitor
Environmental and anti-occupation activists are campaigning against plans to establish an industrial zone near the settlement town Beitar illit, a project they say threatens traditional agriculture and a world heritage site.
A decade in review: the moments that shaped the past 10 years in Israel/Palestine; Yumna Patel; Mondoweiss
Mondoweiss looks back at the past decade and the moments that shaped history in Palestine and Israel.
Palestinian officials are hoping that the nearly-completed restoration will boost tourism at a time when the West Bank remains under Israeli occupation, plagued by a political stalemate and hobbled by high unemployment.
Festivities over Shabbat were centered around the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the large edifice built atop the cave by King Herod over 2,000 years ago.
‘We have the most to lose, but no right to vote’: Palestinians in Area C on Israeli elections; Yumna Patel; MondoWeiss
With the topic of this year’s Israeli election focused heavily on annexation, the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in Area C — the more than 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control — are hanging in the balance. Mondoweiss spoke to three Palestinians living in areas of the West Bank– in close proximity to settlements, Area C, and the Jordan Valley — that would likely be the first ones affected if Netanyahu sees his plans through.
Other regional entries include Hebron in Palestine and historic Petra, but Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro tops the list…
Palestinian Officials: Baptismal Font Discovered at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity; Al Araby Al Jadeed; Palestine Chronicle
Palestinian officials say what they believe to be a new baptismal font has been discovered at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem; Gary; Everything Everywhere
The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem is an important pilgrimage route recognized by UNESCO. Discover tips for visiting jesus’ birthplace on a Nativity Pilgrimage.
Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir; Gary; Everything Everywhere
From the World Heritage inscription:
Battir is a major Palestinian cultural landscape, the adaptation of a deep valley system for agricultural purposes as a result of a good supply of water. The complex irrigation system of this water supply has led to the creation of dry walls terraces which may have been exploited since antiquity. The agricultural terraces, exploiting this irrigation system, were the basis for a strong presence of agriculture through the cultivation of olives and vegetables. The area still today has the same use.
The water distribution system used by the families of Battir is a testament to an ancient egalitarian distribution system that delivers water to the terraced agricultural land based on a simple mathematical calculation and a clear time-managed rotation scheme.
The village of Battir is not far from Jerusalem and is right on the Israel/Palestine border. In fact, there are Israeli train tracks which go right past the terraces at the bottom of the hill.
I could not find any organized tours to Battir, which was a shame.