A Silent Night in Bethlehem ...
A Silent Night, Christmas in Bethlehem
The video was produced by Sadaka with thanks to Roisín Elsafty, Gerry Orchard, Mick Ruane, Ronan Browne, Mary Kate Danaher and others. It was inspired by Simon and Garfunkel's song "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night (1966)"
'A Silent Night, Christmas in Bethlehem' was released just before Christmas 2015. Since then, conditions for Palestinians, and Palestinian children in particular, have worsened considerably. A UNICEF report in 2015 had stated that: 'Serious concerns arose regarding excessive use of force, particularly in relation to incidents where Palestinian children were shot dead by Israeli security forces after carrying out or being suspected of carrying out stabbing attacks.' A UN report later in 2015 provided further evidence of Israeli criminal mistreatment of Palestinian children.
A more recent document from UNICEF states: 'Since 30 March 2018, demonstrations at the fence between Israel and Gaza in the context of the Great March of Return have continued, leaving nearly 7,700 children injured and 43 children dead.' 'In 2019, children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been affected by increases in insecurity, attacks on schools, settler violence, forcible transfer and movement restrictions. Children in contact with security forces, especially boys, continue to face grave protection risks, with potential long-term impacts.'
On 2nd December this year (2020), UNICEF tweeted 'Since 17 Nov, four Palestinian children were shot in the West Bank. Two boys shot in chest remain in intensive care, one boy with fractured skull, one lost his eye. The use of force against children is unacceptable. The children were shot with live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets in situations where the children did not pose a threat to life nor of serious injury of the soldiers or anyone else. Also reported here.
B’Tselem, 'The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories' posts statistics from the Israeli government which indicate that 'At the end of August 2020, at least 153 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners' (though, they say, these figures may considerably under-represent the true figures).
Defence of Children International (DCI) also provide statistics suggesting that 'each year approximately 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The most common charge is stone throwing (October 2020)'. A recent report by DCI concludes that 'the physical and social isolation of Palestinian children for interrogation purposes by Israeli authorities is a practice that constitutes solitary confinement, amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international law norms' (Dec 2020.
Save the Children endorse the same figures as DCI and recently described the awful conditions that Palestinian child prisoners suffer in Israeli jails, now exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic (May 2020).
No Christmas cheer in Bethlehem this year amid coronavirus pandemic (Al Monitor, 3 December 2020)
The text from the 'Silent Night, Christmas in Bethlehem' video reads:
"The mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Babon has announced a scaled down version of the traditional celebrations for Christmas 2015, as a mark of respect to those shot and injured. She told reporters: ‘Bethlehem remains a town of peace and with the upcoming of Christmastime, and the recent escalation of violence, we should pray more than ever before for this peace.
13 year old Abdelrahman Obeidallah of Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem was shot in the heart by an Israeli sniper while on his way home from school. In a statement, the Israeli army said that the shooting of the schoolboy was a mistake. In October 2015, Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu introduced new rules for lethal force, allowing Israeli forces to shoot live bullets at Palestinian demonstrators. Since then, over 120 Palestinians including many children, have been killed. Over 10,000 Palestinians have been injured. Amnesty International has condemned what they call summary killings and extrajudicial executions, including allowing injured people to bleed to death.
Israeli forces arrested 8yr old Abdallah Hatham from a playground in Aida camp Bethlehem and used him as a human shield while firing tear gas. Local man, Muinthir Amira, was attacked and arrested by the army when he intervened to free the child.
A baby died from teargas inhalation in his family home in Beit Fajjar, Bethlehem today. Medics from the Red Crescent said that Israeli forces fired teargas into his home and all attempts to revive the baby had failed. The baby boy was named as Ramadan Thawabta. He was eight months old.
That’s the seven o clock edition of the news from Bethlehem, Palestine. Goodnight."
The 'Silent Night, Christmas in Bethlehem' video is also available on YouTube below - please share -