Happy Christmas, O prisoners of the Little Town of Bethlehem

Happy Christmas, O prisoners of the Little Town of Bethlehem



O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight


by Stuart Littlewood

While carving the turkey for your family and merrily quaffing mulled wine ‘midst happy laughter, remember that the romantic Little Town of Bethlehem at the centre of our childhood Christmases is now “an immense prison” in the words of Michel Sabbah, former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and entirely surrounded by Israel’s ugly 8-metre separation wall bristling with machine-gun towers.

The good citizens of Bethlehem are cut off from their capital Jerusalem, only six miles away, the rest of the West Bank and the whole world.

Consider that the United Nations, for obvious reasons, designated Jerusalem and Bethlehem a protected international zone under UN administration. Israeli rule was not to be permitted.

Consider also that when Palestine was under British mandate Christians accounted for 20 per cent of the population and how 63 years of terror, illegal occupation, dispossession, interference and economic wrecking tactics have whittled their numbers down to less than 2 per cent.

Consider that, at this rate, there will soon be no Christians left in the land where Christianity was born… thanks to the cowardice and inaction of our political leaders.

How will the 26 bishops sitting around in our House of Lords, doing nothing, explain that to their dwindling congregations?

As usual, many Palestinians in Bethlehem and the other cities and villages throughout occupied Palestine will be unable to reunite with their families or celebrate Christmas at their holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem due to cruel Israeli-imposed travel restrictions. Imagine for a moment what sort of Christmas the half-starved children in blockaded Gaza are having this year, and every year… and what New Year prospects face all the other Palestinian children struggling to grow up with the Israeli army’s boot on their necks.

Deep down it is not about religion at all. The struggle is between justice and a criminal conspiracy of huge international proportions, the tentacles of which spread far beyond the Holy Land and impact on all of us, even here in the deepest recesses of England’s green and pleasant land.

In the New Year civil society must resolve to DO SOMETHING about it, one way or another, before the evil spins irreversibly out of control.

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. 

He is a frequent contributor to My Catbird Seat.

For further information please visit : www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. ‘Free Palestine’ Book Now On Internet


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Stuart Littlewood's articles are published widely on the web. He is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk "Lawlessness must have painful consequences for the lawless, not their victims." (Stuart Littlewood)


  1. Thanks for using my original watercolor art work. If men learned from the teachings of the babe in the manger, they would coexist in peace and harmony and there would be no need for the wall of separation. A blessed Christmas to all.

    Loyd Fannin

  2. Mr Fannin's work is beautiful. 

    As Stuart Littlewood writes "the civil society" must do something to bring about a real solution to the problem in occupied Palestine. 

  3. This is the reason why I refer to Zionist communist Jews as criminals.  None of them condemn what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people.  Most American Jews (those who support AIPAC, ADL, SPLC and other all different militant Jewish organizations) are the worst criminals among them.  There is no time to have any more patience with these arch criminals who are the enemies of humanity. 


    This is also not a time to worry about anti-Semitism or support apologists for Zionist communist criminals like the dirty old man who gave a vulgar title to one of his latest articles to make it sensational in order to gain cheap popularity.  Such repulsive words to describe repulsive acts should have no place in any publication whether this be in a magazine or a website/blog except Playboy or some such piece of a wasteland.  Editor of this website or any other website that would carry this vulgar article should share the same shame with the old man who wrote the vulgar  article as well as gave this ugly title – while also insulting other decent authors who share the same platform.  Even the little kindness I had for this trouble creator evaporated after seeing this article and its title.  It caused me to nearly throw up which is not a feeling this website should be wanting to invoke because it is not a part of the Playboy magazine.  How dare this vulgar old man writes such garbage and expects the readers to tolerate!


    Israel 'clears West Bank land for settler homes'

    RAMALLAH (AFP) — Israel has bulldozed land slated for settler homes in the West Bank, a local official said Tuesday, ahead of a visit by the top US diplomat to boost peace talks.

    "The occupation (Israeli) authorities informed us, through notifications to landowners, that new settler homes would be built in the village of Al-Mazraa al-Qabaliya," Abdallah Lawadeh told AFP.

    The 255 homes are among some 800 slated for construction by Israel since October.

    Palestinian landowners were given two months to "present objections to the decision," Lawadeh said, but "the authorities did not wait for those to be filed, already bulldozing the land and setting up temporary housing for Israelis," he said.

    Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the army had approved on Nov. 7 the construction of the 255 units in the Israeli settlement Nahlei Tal.