|(Bethlehem) Najib Farag|
|Friday, 15 September 2006|
Martin Luther King Junior’s son is as dedicated to peace and justice as his father. The younger King walked the streets of Bethlehem this week in the company of Holy Land Trust Director, Sami Awad.
King visited the Church of Nativity and took meetings with local officials, including Bethlehem District Governor Salah Tamari. Surrounded by guests, Tamari explained the Palestinian situation in Bethlehem, including “the Israeli government’s escalations and lack of interest in calm with the Palestinian people.”
He explained the Wall surrounding Bethlehem, the isolation from Jerusalem and living as a target, bringing the common international experience into the focal point.
The Governor told King that the people have always sought a just and comprehensive peace that allows for the realization of their just and legitimate rights to live with dignity in their homeland.
Bethlehem’s Mayor, Dr. Victor Batarsa, also welcomed King and reiterated the latest Israeli confiscation, this time 14 percent of Bethlehem. Dr. Batarsa pointed out the great economic, social and commercial losses in the tourism sector due to the closure of the city. He asked that the American people pressure the US government to put an end to its political and material support of Israel.
The YMCA gave a presentation on the social affects of the occupation while in turn King made a short speech. He said, “Christ came from the Holy Land and Bethlehem is a symbol of world peace, but the Wall and settlement expansion are an affront to all religions and nationalities. Peace is based on justice, equality and freedom.”
Holy Land Trust Director, Sami Awad, said that King and his father represent the nonviolent struggle to end oppression.
King also met with President Abbas in Ramallah and plans to meet Prime Minister Haniya in Gaza City.