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"No Christmas in Jerusalem for you," by Mazin Qumsiyeh

January 7th is Christmas for my family (Eastern Christian traditions).After we had our large gathering of a few hundred members of the Qumsiyehclan, and paying visits to my sisters and the older people in my family, Itried unsuccessfully to visit Jerusalem (both with my US passport and withmy Palestinian ID). The idea was to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcherand have dinner in Jerusalem. Here is what happened with a video ( and some text explaining why even this shortencounter reveals at least six violations of International law.I used to be a high school teacher in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is only 4 milesaway and is a suburb of Jerusalem.  The economies were/are inter-dependentand for five thousand years were inseparable. That is until Israel decidedto separate us after they signed the Oslo agreements in 1994 (one of manyreasons why these sell-out agreements entrenched apartheid andcolonization). I am not allowed to enter Jerusalem on my American passportbecause I am a Palestinian who does not get a visitor visa on my USpassport (I hold green card resident ID in my own country). MostPalestinians are not allowed to their own city of Jerusalem except withspecial permits. On occasions (like Muslim and Christian holidays,Palestinians above a certain age (males over 55) are allowed. In this casethey claimed that Shabak (Israel Internal Security) said that even if I wasabove 55 I am not allowed and that if I try to come through again I wouldbe jailed (lack of due process not withstanding).  While I was questioned,the bus from Bethlehem had left and we were forced to then walk back in thecold weather.The Israeli policies of separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem and denying usentry are violations of International law and many are considered warcrimes. Here are the violations that these soldiers and the Israeligovernment are guilty of based on International law:1) Israel’s changes to borders of the municipality of Jerusalem to includeparts of Bethlehem (illegal for occupiers, several UN resolutions),2) Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem (both West Jerusalem and EastJerusalem are not Israeli per the UN resolutions that Israel itself agreedto implement when they became members of the UN),3) Israel’s establishment of 23 Jewish only settlements/colonies inBethlehem is a war crime and the fact that such Jewish settlers cross overwithout requiring tasrih (permit) is racist,4) Israel cannot prevent freedom of movement between one occupied town(Bethlehem) and another occupied town (Jerusalem),5) Building walls and fences inside the 1967 occupied areas is also illegal(International Criminal Court Ruling 2004),6) That the “shabak” can give direction to prevent people like me fromcrossing simply because we advocate non-violent resistance (I wrote a bookon the subject) is contrary to both local law (supposed freedom of speech,due process) and International law (e.g. violations of the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights).These colonization tactics are nothing short of state terrorism. Thisindignity was a disappointment in Christmas but we have the peace ofChristmas in our hearts and the silver lining is that this provides anothermotivation for us to redouble our efforts to end the ongoing crimes againsthumanity. Others suffer and even get injured, jailed or tortured so we arestill grateful. May 2017 bring us closer to ending this nightmare ofapartheid, close to return of Palestinian refugees, closer to justice, andcloser to peace.Video here (unfortunately short and does not carry the full interactions): HumanMazin QumsiyehA bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at homeProfessor and (volunteer) DirectorPalestine Museum of Natural HistoryPalestine Institute of Biodiversity and SustainabilityBethlehem UniversityOccupied Palestinehttp://qumsiyeh.orghttp://palestinenature.orgJoin me on facebook