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Palestinian/ Israeli update12/23/2015.. ‘resistance tree’ in Bethlehem

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 18:52
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The ‘resistance tree’, an olive tree which was recently uprooted by the IOF, was put at the center of the main square, overlooking the massive Christmas Tree and the Church of the Nativity. It is decorated with tear gas canisters clinking together like bells, photos of Palestinians recently martyred or detained and the Palestinian keffieh.

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Tourists, political leaders, activists and residents of Bethlehem gathered in the city-center on Thursday, right in front of the Nativity Church with an unusual message this year. While December is usually a time for cheerful Christmas celebrations at the Nativity, the people of Bethlehem have been unable to put aside the political turmoil for the sake of the holiday.

With Christmas just days away, the city of Bethlehem erected what they call a “Resistance Tree.” The tree, an olive tree which was recently uprooted by Israeli forces from a nearby neighborhood, was placed in the center of the main square, overlooking the towering Christmas tree and historical Nativity church. Instead of baubles and tinsel, the Resistance Tree was decorated with tear gas canisters clinking together like bells, photos of Palestinians recently killed or detained, Palestinian national scarves and sling shots.

At the “lighting ceremony,” the Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun spoke to the crowd, “This tree is our message,” Baboun said. “We plant our roots and we are rooted to this land. Olive trees are the trees of life. We see our people’s eyes and the hopes of our women and the dreams of our men reflected off this tree.”

Around the tree, activists laid tear gas canisters in the shape of a star, lighting candles from the metal cylinders which were collected after protests in the city with Israeli forces.

“Even with the Israelis speaking a language of death, we speak a language of life,” the mayor proclaimed.

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JERUSALEM – DECEMBER 23: A clown gives balloons to Palestinian children in front of Dome of the Rock during the 1445th anniversary of the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, Mawlid al Nabi, in Eastern Jerusalem on December 23, 2015. – Read More :

UN Resolution on Palestinian Sovereignty Over Its Natural Resources

by Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, General Assembly members overwhelmingly passed a resolution, asserting Palestine’s right to its own natural resources – systematically stolen by Israel, including water, as well as offshore oil and gas reserves.

The vote was 164 in favor, five against. Ten nations abstained. America, Israel, Canada and two tiny US-controlled Pacific islands alone voted “no.”

General Assembly resolutions are symbolic, not binding. Palestine has no more control over its natural resources now than a day earlier – Israel free to steal them, world community intervention on behalf of their rights entirely absent.

The resolution demands Israel cease exploiting, damaging, depleting and endangering resources rightfully belonging to Palestinians – including their legal right to claim restitution, amounting to many billions of dollars.

The resolution cited Israel’s “extensive destruction” of arable Palestinian farmland, the economic and environmental repercussions – along with destroying water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity grids.

Infrastructure destruction was most severe during Israeli aggression on Gaza in summer 2014, virtually no rebuilding done because of imposed blockade.

Illegal settlement construction was highlighted, explaining their “detrimental impact…on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially as a result of the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources.”

Israel controls about 85% of water resources rightfully belonging to Palestine.

Al-Shabaka is an independent NGO involved in fostering public discussion of Palestinian rights, including self-determination.

In mid-December, it discussed the devastating effect Israel’s settlement enterprise has had on Palestine’s economy and people – “dispossessing (them) of their land, water and other resources and creating mass unemployment.”

The world community continues turning a blind eye to major Israeli high crimes against humanity – collectively punishing an entire population without letup, along with stealing its resources and preventing its right to self-determination.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at


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