Millions of American Christians are unaware of the plight of the city of Bethlehem and its Palestinian inhabitants in the West Bank of Palestine. The Israeli built separation wall snakes its way around Bethlehem, even cutting off Palestinians from their own land and nearby Jerusalem. This story is courageously told by Palestinian filmmaker, Leila Sansour in her Open, Bethlehem documentary that is part of a campaign to educate her fellow Christians and the world about the stranglehold by Israel that is slowly causing Palestinian Christians to leave the Holy Land because of the hardships imposed by the military occupation.
To increase the awareness of what is happening to Bethlehem, a Bethlehem Passport is being issued by the OPEN, BETHLEHEM campaign in partnership with the Governorate of Bethlehem. So far, the passport has been granted to more than 500 people around the world, including church leaders and heads of states, such as Archbishop Rowan Williams, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Jimmy Carter. The passport states: “In that the bearer of this passport is a citizen of Bethlehem; that they recognize this ancient city provides a light to the world, and to all people who uphold the values of a just and open society; that they will remain a true friend to Bethlehem through its imprisonment, and that they will strive to keep the ideals of Bethlehem alive as long as the wall stands; we ask you to respect the bearer of the passport and to let them pass freely.”More on this article