Saturday, December 24, 2011
Cartoon depicting @lacoste censorship of a Palestinian artist
كاريكاتير رقابة شركة لاكوستا لمنع فن فلسطيني ياريت توزعو
Letter to the Editor Published: December 23 There’s no reason to redefine ‘pro-Israel’
& What ‘pro-Israel’ should mean By Jeremy Ben-Ami, Published: December 16
So far, from what I can see, you have had 'pro-Israel' argue with 'pro-Israel' in your opinion pages- with both one-staters and two staters doing what they can to dismiss the Palestinian refugees inalienable right to return to original homes and lands. All empower Israel each in their own way.
Be good to see someone who is honestly and intelligently pro-Palestine and pro-peace be given a chance to help empower Palestine... and peace.
Might I suggest you contact the American Task Force on Palestine (no I don't work for them, I just very much admire their pro-Palestine/pro-America efforts) in order to help shape a more relevant and helpful round up of perspectives focused in on actually ending the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Anne Selden Annab
Refugees and the Right of Return
Palestinian refugees must be given the option to exercise their right of return (as well as receive compensation for their losses arising from their dispossession and displacement) though refugees may prefer other options such as: (i) resettlement in third countries, (ii) resettlement in a newly independent Palestine (even though they originate from that part of Palestine which became Israel) or (iii) normalization of their legal status in the host country where they currently reside. What is important is that individual refugees decide for themselves which option they prefer – a decision must not be imposed upon them.
1211: The Palestinian National Initiative is distributing pamphlets in Arabic, English, Russian and French calling for boycotting Israeli products. PNI activists are dressed as Santa Claus.
PNI activist Mazin al-Azza tells us the PNI is also behind two Christmas tree displays depicting hardships imposed by Israel's occupation. One of them, by designer Rana Bishara, is modeled after the wall.
The “Children Without Borders” event is held annually, and this year they walked to Nativity Square from the John Paul II Institute.
Clowns and Santa Clauses were in attendance, as well as members of clergy and Palestinian Authority officials. Even a few camels were brought in.
Bethlehem mayor Victor Batarseh welcomed the children and told them “you are the leaders of the future, we gather you every year to learn the message of peace and love”.
The head of the John Paul II institute, Father Ibrahim Faltas, said that the aim of the festival was to draw joy on the faces of children during Christmas.
[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER PALESTINE AND PEACE]
An initiative of the Sumud Story House, it is designed to communicate Palestinian women’s stories about the "truth of Palestinian life which the wall tries to hide and kill," a statement said.
Each panel contains a story that was either written or chosen by Palestinian women’s groups who convene at the Sumud Story House.
During Christmas, 25 posters are being attached to the wall on the northern side of Rachel’s Tomb. Through individual sponsorship, the museum will gradually expand.
The Sumud Story House is part of the Arab Educational Institute in Bethlehem.
Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh said he hopes this year's celebrations will bring Palestinians closer to their dream of statehood. With peace talks stalled with Israel, Palestinians this year made a unilateral bid for recognition at the United Nations and were accepted as a member by UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency.
"We are celebrating this Christmas hoping that in the near future we'll get our right to self-determination our right to establish our own democratic, secular Palestinian state on the Palestinian land. That is why this Christmas is unique," Batarseh told The Associated Press.
Bethlehem is today surrounded on three sides by a barrier Israel built to stop Palestinian militants from attacking Israel. Palestinians say the barrier damaged their economy.The number of Christians in the West Bank is on the decline. While some leave for economic reasons, many speak of persecution...READ MORE
Friday, December 23, 2011
Christmas preparations are under way as countries around the world gear up for the holidays.
History of the question of Palestine
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KEY ISSUES IN A PERMANENT SETTLEMENT
Time Magazine: At Christmas, a Maronite Christian Village in Israel Revives the Language Spoken by Jesus Christ
“When he sings the language, for me, it’s very emotional,” says Khalloul. “I feel like, ‘Why are we losing this language?’ A nation without its heritage will not exist. Let’s hope a few years from now we’ll be able to revive it, and revive our identity.”
'If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed' A strip of settlements built on what was northern Bethlehem threatens to cut the city off
If Joseph and Mary were making their way to Bethlehem today, the Christmas story would be a little different, says Father Ibrahim Shomali, a parish priest in the town. The couple would struggle to get into the city, let alone find a hotel room.
"If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed," says the priest of Bethlehem's Beit Jala parish. "He would either have to be born at a checkpoint or at the separation wall. Mary and Joseph would have needed Israeli permission – or to have been tourists.
"This really is the big problem for Palestinians in Bethlehem: what will happen when they close us off completely?"
Bethlehem is the heart of Christian Palestine and it swells with pride every Christmas. Manger Square is transformed into a grotto of lights and stalls crowned by a towering Christmas tree. Strings of illuminated angels, stars and bells festoon the streets. But just a few minutes' drive to the north, the festive atmosphere stops abruptly.A strip of Israeli settlements built on 18 sq km of what was once northern Bethlehem threatens to cut the city off from its historic twin, Jerusalem....READ MORE
Countering exploitation and oppression: Resolutions from World Archaeological Congress Inter-Congress on Structural Violence, Ramallah, Palestine
These resolutions emerge from the Inter-Congress of the World Archaeological Congress “Overcoming Structural Violence,” which was held in Ramallah, Palestine, 8-13 August, 2009. The WAC Executive has acted, and is acting, on these recommendations.
We recognize that the past is a powerful resource for groups in the present. Connections to the past have been used to establish identities and to legitimize claims to land, monuments, and objects. Rival claims have too often led to violence, both physical and structural, in the present. We cannot carry out archaeological and cultural heritage research without recognizing its political implications.
We call on all people, archaeologists and non-archaeologists alike, to use the power of the past in support of equality, justice, and a fulfilling life for all as well as to counter exploitation and oppression.
We call on those in positions of power to refrain from imposing their interpretations of the past. In particular, we call on all governments and professional groups to propose laws, regulations and ethical codes of conduct that would prohibit support, whether with financial or other means, for archaeological excavations that result in the displacement of people from their homes.
We support the rights of oppressed groups in the present to criticize abuses of the past by others and to be assured of a public forum in which to put forth their own interpretations of the past. Any attempt to overcome structural violence must provide opportunities for all interested parties to debate interpretations of the past on an equal footing as long as their aims support equality, justice and an end to oppression.
We call upon all Palestinians, both individuals and institutions, that have a stake in the field of cultural heritage to coordinate their efforts, cooperate between themselves and their local communities, and ensure the protection and preservation of the endangered cultural heritage of their country. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing destruction and damage of major archaeological sites, specifically Tell Jenin, Tell et-Tell, and Tell es-Sultan, by construction activities and illicit digging.
We acknowledge that an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory is essential to effectively countering the structural violence inherent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Recalling the provisions of the International Conventions for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and their related Protocols we express our deep concern over the harm suffered by Palestinian civilians and cultural heritage sites during the Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009.
Furthermore, we note the destruction of infrastructure, and a significant deterioration of basic services, and damage to schools and universities that this military attack caused. We call upon all concerned parties to respect and protect cultural heritage sites during military actions.
We express deep concern regarding the Israeli authorities’ excavations in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, a protected site on the World Heritage List, contrary to the provisions of the Second Protocol of the Hague Convention on Cultural Property. We also express again our deep concern with the destruction wrought upon cultural heritage and civilians by the building of the Israeli Separation Wall.
We also condemn the damage caused by the Israeli military to the cultural heritage of Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, and other heritage sites listed on the "Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine“ prepared by the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in 2005.
We call upon WAC's Executive to take all necessary measures with the concerned parties to preserve and protect Palestinian heritage sites in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and to assist the concerned Palestinian institutions in developing capacity in the protection, preservation and management of heritage sites and cultural property, including support for:
a. Awareness raising initiatives for local communities (publication and distribution of information material, consultative workshops).
b. Institutional capacity building and sharing of knowledge (training courses on information management, site management and risk preparedness).
c. Logistical and training support to the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
d. Education programs at Palestinian educational institutions.
e. Assist the Palestinian Authority in assembling a database of cultural property removed from the occupied Palestinian territory.
Noting that since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967 millions of artifacts have been taken from Museums, excavated and removed from Palestinian territory by Israeli authorities we call upon Israel to repatriate all of those objects to the Palestinian Department of Antiquities without further delay. This includes all sensitive materials including the Dead Sea Scrolls
We express concern that in June 2009, the Royal Ontario Museum, in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority, illegally imported into Canada and put on display Palestinian artifacts, including the portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in violation of international customary law and UNESCO conventions and protocols. And we thus call on the WAC Executive and the President to take the following action:
a. Issue a letter to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) calling on the ROM to respect its ethical and legal obligations by ensuring any exhibit of Palestinian artifacts removed from the Palestinian territories are displayed with the explicit approval of the Palestinian National Authority.
b. Issue a letter to Canada's Minister of Heritage calling on Canada to honor its international legal commitments under UNESCO conventions and related protocols by taking custody of the Scrolls and holding on to them in trust until the conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is resolved.
c. Issue a letter to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) calling on the IAA to stop its practice of exporting and exhibiting Palestinian cultural property without explicit approval from the Palestinian Authority.
WAC encourages the establishment of a professional organization for Palestinian archaeologists that would serve as a forum for communication. The organization should comprise government officials, academics and students, as well as heritage professionals from Palestinian non-governmental organizations. It should serve as a platform for archaeologists, historians and art historians, architects and engineers to share their ideas, expertise and scholarship about the preservation, protection and management of archaeological and cultural heritage. The participants of the Ramallah WAC Inter-Congress call on the Palestinian Authority to reactivate the Palestinian Archaeological Council. This Council should function as an open forum for communication and sharing ideas and comprises of representatives of governmental, academic, and non-governmental institutions.
The departments of archaeology at Palestinians universities lack adequate teaching personnel to train the next generation of Palestinian archaeologists and cultural heritage professionals. We call upon WAC to launch a program to support foreign visiting teachers to interested Palestinian archaeology departments. During the Ramallah Inter-Congress, it also became apparent that there is a need for library resources in the West Bank and Gaza. For the purpose of this discussion, electronic reference refers to PDF files, e-books, links to valuable reference material and possibly image files. Once again, the most important thing here is to have specific needs addressed by the faculty and students of universities in the Occupied Territories. We propose establishing a central location on the web, from which each university in the Occupied Territories could access the various resources. An electronic repository eliminates some of the problems that are inherent in hard copy references. For example, universities in Gaza could simply log on and access files without having to wait for those files to be delivered from the West Bank. Also, if there is one book or one article that is particularly useful a number of people could use it at the same time.
WAC is an association that encourages dialogue and cooperation between archaeologists and cultural heritage specialists from around the world. WAC emphasizes the promotion of mutual understanding not only of archaeologists but of all peoples. The Ramallah Inter-Congress participants encourage all archaeologists around the world to take an active role in the WAC and its activities.
Ramallah Inter-Congress participants would have liked to visit archaeological sites together and we deplore the fact that most Palestinian attendants were not permitted to visit East Jerusalem. We object to all border restrictions that prevent the free movement of particular ethnic, political, social and religious populations, including scholars and students. We equally object to all archaeology that is done on the backs of subaltern people, who are often forced out of their homes and other spaces for the sake of researching the past. An archaeology that impinges in this way on the daily lives of communities is unethical.
Further Information: Issued by the Executive of the World Archaeological Congress. Contacts: Claire Smith, WAC President (Claire.email@example.com); Jon Price, WAC Executive Member (firstname.lastname@example.org); Hamdan Taha, Assistant Deputy Minister, Sector of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Palestinian National Authority (email@example.com); Adel Yahya, Head of the ONG Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange, PACE (firstname.lastname@example.org); Reinhard Bernbeck, Freie Universitaet Berlin and Binghamton University (email@example.com).
World Archaeological Congress
The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is an international forum for discussion for anyone who is genuinely concerned with the study of the past. WAC is based on the need to recognise the historical and social role and political context of archaeology, and the need to make archaeological studies relevant to the wider community.
The World Archaeological Congress has particular interest in:
- education about the past
- archaeology and indigenous people
- the ethics of archaeological enquiry
- the protection of sites and objects of the past
- the effect of archaeology on host communities
- the ownership, conservation and exploitation of the archaeological heritage
- application of new technologies in archaeology and in archaeological communication
[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER PALESTINE AND PEACE]
FAITH MATTERS: Palestinian family afflicted, yet committed to peace
By Allie Perry
SINCE 1916, a vineyard on a fertile hilltop southwest of Bethlehem has been the home of the Nassars, a Palestinian Christian family.
On this 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I am thinking of Daoud and Daher Nassar, brothers who carry on their grandfather’s legacy. In the face of daunting challenges, the Nassars are exemplars of dignity and faith. Painted on a stone at the vineyard’s entrance gate is a greeting — in Arabic, Hebrew and English — that says it all: We refuse to be enemies.
The West Bank vineyard is surrounded by Israeli settlements atop encircling
hills. Despite papers documenting their ownership, the family has spent the past 20 years and more than $150,000 in courts defending their claim to the acreage. Israel continues to contest their claim.
All the while, the Nassars have faced intimidation and isolation. Electricity and public water have been cut off. The government has denied permits for new construction and repeatedly has threatened to demolish the modest existing structures.
Settlers have uprooted or cut down hundreds of the Nassars’ olive trees. With guns in hand, some settlers have come to the vineyard and said, “God gave us this land and that’s why it is ours, not yours.” The access road has been blocked by huge boulders and rubble.
I met Daoud and Daher Nassar last month during a trip. The night before my visit, Israeli soldiers bulldozed yet more boulders to refresh the barricade. These brothers impress me as living icons of St. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken.” (2 Cor. 4:8)
But they refuse to be enemies and are committed to love without borders or barricades. When settlers appear with guns, the Nassars tell them to leave their guns outside the fence and invite them into the vineyard. For every olive tree that settlers cut down, the Nassars plant 10 seedlings donated to them by European Jews for a Just Peace.
When removed from the power grid, they turned to a diesel generator, solar panels and, soon, a wind turbine. Lacking public water, they have built composting toilets and several cisterns. Their goal is self-sufficiency. Prohibited from building up, they dig down, living in caves the family lived in during the early decades and, now, in newer ones.
The Nassars’ wisdom is expressed through the name they have chosen for the peace and justice institute they have started at the vineyard: Tent of Nations. They envision all respecting the rights of all, sharing bounty and at peace and unafraid.
“Any day you want to, come here,” Daher Nassar said before I left. “This place is open for all people. This is your place. You are welcome.”
May we all learn to practice such all-embracing hospitality.
The Rev. Allie Perry is the worship coordinator of Shalom United Church of Christ, New Haven, and a member of the steering committee of Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice. Write to her in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The organisers of a 25,000 euro ($32,000) art prize said on Wednesday they have cancelled this year's competition after sponsors Lacoste objected to an entry by a Palestinian photographer.
Jerusalem-born artist Larissa Sansour said she was told the luxury clothing brand deemed her photo series "too pro-Palestinian".
The Elysee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, had offered 25,000 euros to the winner of the Lacoste Elysee Prize for a work with the theme of "joie de vivre".
A jury was set to award the cash to one of eight candidates in January but the museum said this year's award had been suspended.
"The private partner's wish to exclude Larissa Sansour, one of the competition candidates, is behind the Elysee Museum's decision," the museum said in a statement.
Conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for UN recognition, Sansour said her photo series "Nation Estate" "envisions a Palestinian state rising from the ashes of the peace process."
The artist said she was told by the museum last week that her nomination had been revoked by Lacoste who thought her project, although not directly anti-Israel, was "too pro-Palestinian" for the company to support.
"As a politically involved artist I am no stranger to opposition, but never before have I been censored by the very same people who nominated me in the first place," said Sansour in a statement.
"Lacoste's prejudice and censorship puts a major dent in the idea of corporate involvement in the arts. It is deeply worrying."
The Elysee Museum said its decision reiterated its commitment the "fundamental value" of freedom of expression and that it had offered to exhibit Sansour's work outside of the competition, which was established in 2010.
Lacoste was not immediately available for comment.
[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER PALESTINE AND PEACE]
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Born in Jerusalem [Palestinian] Artist Larissa Sansour's Nation Estate project censored by French firm for being 'too pro-Palestinian'
Nation Estate (2012)
Photo and video
The Nation Estate project is a sci-fi photo series conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for nationhood at the UN. Three preliminary sketches have been developed especially for the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011 - an award I was nominated for until Lacoste decided to censor my work and revoke my nomination.
Set within a grim piece of hi-tech architecture, this narrative photo series envisions 'la joie de vivre' of a Palestinian state rising from the ashes of the peace process.
In this dystopic vision, Palestinians have their state in the form of a single skyscraper: the Nation Estate. Surrounded by a concrete wall, this colossal hi-rise houses the entire Palestinian population - finally living the high life. Each city has its own floor: Jerusalem, third floor; Ramallah, fourth floor. Intercity trips previously marred by checkpoints are now made by elevator.
Aiming for a sense of belonging, the lobby of each floor reenacts iconic squares and landmarks - elevator doors on the Jerusalem floor opening onto a full-scale Dome of the Rock. Built ouside the actual city of Jerusalem, the building also has views of the original golden dome from the top floors.
The Nation Estate project consists of 8-10 large-format photos. It is scheduled for production in early 2012.
In addition to the photo series, a sci-fi video version of Nation Estate is currently in production.
European Union members of the 15-nation body demanded strong action by the Israeli government to halt the attacks and said the settlements "send a devastating message" about Israel's intentions.
India, Brazil and South Africa launched their own condemnation after a Security Council meeting on Israeli-Palestinian developments. Russia's UN envoy questioned Israel's commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict.
Britain, France, Germany and Portugal -- EU representatives on the council -- said in a statement that they were "dismayed by these wholly negative developments."
They said Israel's move to accelerate the construction of settlements in the occupied territories "send a devastating message. We call on the Israeli government to reverse these steps.
"The viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel's long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements," added the statement read after the meeting by Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.
"We condemn the disturbing escalation of violence by settlers including the burning of the Nebi Akasha mosque in west Jerusalem and the Burqa mosque in the West Bank. It is clear that these deliberately provocative attacks on places of worship were designed to aggravate tensions."
Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority compete for Christian pilgrims' business in Bethlehem, where scores of buses arrive each day to visit Jesus' birthplace.
December 20, 2011
But Nabil Giacaman, co-owner of a souvenir shop called Christmas House, isn't feeling the holiday spirit.
The third-generation woodcarver, who sells handmade likenesses of baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary, sees as many as 200 tour buses arrive every day from Israel to visit the Church of the Nativity, just a few steps from his store.
But the tourists are escorted directly from the bus to the church and back again. They're rarely given time to browse the shops nearby and almost never spend the night in Bethlehem.
"My total sales the other day were $4.13," said Giacaman, 27. "My shop is in the middle of it all, but it gets worse every year. We have tourists, but not profits."
Parallel to the decades-old political conflict over the Holy Land, an economic battle is heating up between Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority over the market for Christian tourism.
At 1.1 million a year, the number of Christian pilgrims — those who describe their visit as chiefly spiritual in purpose — now surpasses Jewish tourism to Israel. Many of the top Christian sites are in the West Bank, and tourists have been returning in droves thanks to a recent lull in violence.
Many Christian pilgrims belie the image of austere travelers sleeping in religious hostels. These visitors, mostly Catholics and Christian evangelicals, spend about $200 a day on hotels, restaurants and souvenirs, compared with an average of $140 for all tourists, according to Israeli figures.
All this would seem to be only good news for Giacaman and other Palestinian businesspeople.
The reality is more complicated. Most visitors to the Holy Land arrive by air in Israel and join Israeli-led tours. So even when pilgrims visit Palestinian territory, local businesses do not necessarily profit....READ MORE
Monday, December 19, 2011
Palestinian wins EU photo competition: Winning image by Mahmoud Illean shows children lighting candles on the steps of Saint Mary's Church Jerusalem
The winning image by Mahmoud Illean shows children lighting candles on the
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A young Palestinian photographer won first prize in a European competition celebrating images of Mediterranean cities, a press statement said Monday.
Mahmoud Illean, from Jerusalem, was awarded for his photograph of Saint Mary's Church in the city by the EU-funded Euromed Heritage programme and the Rehabimed Association.
"We have selected this picture because of its aesthetic and artistic value... It is a rich composition of people in ritual," jury member Christiane Dabdoub Nasser said.
The jury received 266 pictures from 23 different countries, and also commended an image by Mohamed Badarne, from Haifa.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Jordan to complain to UNESCO over Israeli appropriation of the Dead Sea scrolls discovered between 1948 and 1957 by Jordanian archaeologists
Report: Jordan to complain to UNESCO over Dead Sea scrolls
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the River Jordan shows Jordanian
soldiers securing an area on their side of the border in 2009. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
AMMAN (Ma'an) -- Jordan may complain to UNESCO over Israel's exhibition of the Dead Sea scrolls in the US, Jordanian media reported on Sunday.
Faris al-Hamoud, Director of the Department of Antiquities in Jordan, told Jordanian daily Al-Arab Al-Youm that his office plans to notify UNESCO of the international exhibition currently on tour, and complain of Israel's use of stolen Jordanian artifacts.
The scrolls were discovered between 1948 and 1957 by Jordanian archaeologists following the first find by Palestinian Bedouins in 1947.
The West Bank was under Jordanian administration between 1948-67 and the scrolls were kept on display in a Jerusalem museum administered by the Jordanian government and under international conventions protecting cultural heritage items.
A year after Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, the Jordanian government filed complaints to UNESCO complaining of Israeli appropriation of the manuscripts, which include religious and secular texts over 2,000 years old.
The scrolls went on display in New York for the first time on Friday.
Jordan, which registered the Old City of Jerusalem on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1981, is already lobbying the body to protect an access bridge to the Dome of the Rock compound that Israeli municipal authorities slated for destruction citing safety concerns.
Now that Palestine has joined UNESCO as a full member, it can apply to classify its monuments as World Heritage Sites, including a pending application for the city of Bethlehem and its Church of the Nativity.
When the scrolls went on display in Canada in 2009, the Palestinian Authority wrote to the government saying the seizure of the artifacts from Palestinian territories was illegal.
Settlers attack carol singers near Nablus
Bethlehem Bible college choir performs next to Israel's separation wall in
Bethlehem. (MaanImages/Munther Isaac, HO)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Settlers attacked a Palestinian choir bus returning from a carol concert in Nablus on Saturday evening, choristers told Ma'an.
The singers, from Bethlehem Bible college, said five men attacked them on a quiet road outside of the northern West Bank city.
"A rock smashed through the window, and glass shattered everywhere inside," chorister Saleem Anfous told Ma'an, adding that none of the 25 carol singers was injured.
"We kept driving and starting singing to cheer ourselves up and encourage the choir members," he said.
"Tomorrow we will continue our carol tour of the West Bank in Jenin, using the same road, and we are afraid. But we are trying to convince the families that God will protect us."
Hardline settlers have torched mosques near Ramallah, Jerusalem and Salfit since last Wednesday. The latest string of attacks included a rampage on an army base, sparking condemnation in Israel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu to vow stronger enforcement against lawlessness.
But he rejected a recommendation to classify the Jewish extremists as terrorists, and Israeli lawmakers were set to discuss a law to legalize settlement outposts built on land owned by Palestinians on Sunday.
Extremists amongst Israel's 500,000 strong settler population in the West Bank and Jerusalem reference Israel's measures against outposts in their revenge 'price tag' attacks, usually directed at Palestinians in the West Bank, but recently spilling over into Palestinian sites in Israel and army targets.
Israel distinguishes between state-sanctioned settlement building on occupied Palestinian land and the wildcat outposts, but the international community says all settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem break international law.