This past Friday Santa Clause stood in solidarity with and attempted to go where fewer and fewer Palestinians are able to go, their own farm lands in the southern hills of the Beautiful little town called Bethlehem. For the second year in a row, taking time away from his main work in this very busy season, Santa decided to come to Bethlehem to support the farmers in reaching their land in order to maintain it and plant it… For the second year in a row (as happens every week when Santa is not there), the Israeli soldiers barricaded and prevented the villagers from reaching their land.
Barbed wires were placed on the main road leading to the farming lands and soldiers with heavy guns stood in a line pouting the whole time at the Palestinian farmers, their international and Israeli friends, and of course… Santa…
Those in the procession were participating in a nonviolent action and it was made clear to the Israeli soldiers that there was no intention to provoke them or to use violence, but the soldiers still pushed the protestors and even pushed Santa to the ground. Several people from the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall spoke to the crowds and through the media sent messages to the world: “The little town of Bethlehem and its surrounding hills are being threatened with a separation wall and a network of illegal settlements that will break up this peaceful community; it is time for Christians all over the world to wake up and begin working to end this injustice, save Bethlehem, save its Palestinian Christian population, and work to bring real peace and justice to Palestinians and Israelis.”
Santa truly knows when you’ve been good or bad. At the end of the procession, not being able to make it to the farm lands, Santa gave candy to those who were good and the soldiers did not get any candy, knowing that even if they were good in their hearts, it is their actions that are more important. He wished all a merry Christmas and to the Israeli soldiers a happy Hanukah.
We would like to wish everyone a beautiful and precious Christmas season. May we continue to carry the torch of peace, love, justice and forgiveness that was handed to us more than 2000 years ago by the person we all call, the Prince of Peace.