O Little Town of Bethlehem
The view of Bethlehem is now obscured by the massive Apartheid Wall which Israel has built in and around the city. Beit Lahama was founded by ancient Palestinians - Canaanites - more than 5,000 years ago. Egyptian merchants on their way to the great trading centers of Syria stayed in Bethlehem a millenia before Jesus was born here.
In Occupied Palestine, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported in mid-2004 that roughly 70% of Palestinian Children have had to undergo some degree of psychiatric treatment for trauma.
The report described the prevalance of various symptoms reported by care-givers for children aged 5-17. the symptoms they listed and ranked included: overnervousness, constant fear of darkness, bad mod, depression, unexplainable attacks of crying, fear of leaving the house, inability to concentrate, inability to sleep except with parents or siblings, constant fear of loneliness, nightmares, frequent thoughts of death and dying. This and other reports from the same period described a whole host of other symptoms of trauma: bedwetting, sleepwalking, fire-starting, attacking other children, swearing, smoking, isolation and distancing from family and friends.
Most horrifying to me was the PCBS report of a symptom experienced by 11% of Palestinian children: a symptom described only as "Constant screaming."
With each passing day, the virulent anti-Arab racism of normal Israelis grows more violent and psychotic.
30 years ago, in 1974, when the Jews News Weekly first carried out its polls on Jewish Israeli attutudes towards Arabs, 32% of Jewish youth in Israel said they "hated Arabs." By 1988 that number had grown to 39%.
By 1997, despite a supposed "peace process" taking place in the 1990s (during which time the number of Jewish settlers actualyl doubled), the numbers had jumped considerably: 40% of Jewish youth in israel said they "hated Arabs", and an alarming 60% said that they "want revenge."
15 years later, today, those hate-filled and revenge-seeking children are now in positions of power, and the everyday racism of Israelis has mutated into something almost unrecognizably worse. More than 90% of Jewish Israelis say the mass incarceration of millions of Palestinian civilians inside these disconnected maximum security prisons is "necessary for Jewish security."
As reported in Israel's Ha'aretz Daily, a poll of Jewish Israelis conducted in March of 2005 found that 59% of Jewish Israelis felt that the state of Israeli should pressure its 1 million Arab citizens to leave the country.
65% of Jewish Israelis said they would reject any "peace deal" that involved withdrawal to its 1967 borders (a withdrawal demanded by every country on earth and required by international law).
This explosion of racial animus is getting more violent all the time. What we are seeing is a controlled, state-sponsored movement towards genocide. This is a diagnosis shared by a number of the world's foremost genocide monitoring groups.
GENOCIDE WATCH currently ranks Israel as a Stage 6 genocide - the "preparation" stage which immediately precedes an outbreak of mass killing.
VOICES FROM THE BETHLEHEM GHETTO
and STOP THE WALL
ORIGINAL PHOTO: Maan Independent news
IMAGE ALTERATION: AnomalousNYC, New York City - USA.