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The Burial of BethlehemDr. William A. Cook Salem-News.com
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2)
(LAVERNE, CA) - A few days ago I received this plea from Samuel Dowell, a cry from the heart in the season of joy and peace, as he witnesses the slow motion deathknell of the city of Bethlehem, the city of the Prince of Peace. “Dr. Cook, Bethlehem. I don't know if any of this will be useful to you, but send it anyway.”
Bethlehem is a pretty graphic example of the ghettos the Israeli authorities are currently creating in the occupied Palestinian territories: latter-day bantustans. Now surrounded by an eight-meter-high concrete wall (dwarfing the former Berlin Wall), the victim of regular invasions (usually unreported in the Western media) by the Israeli military, Bethlehem is struggling for its very survival.
The illegal Israeli (read Jewish) 8 metre high apartheid barrier is designed not for security but the theft of 80% of Bethlehem's land to build a ring of illegal Jewish settlements. Why is the world so silent? (“Samuel Dowell [reaching.middle.east.peace@
Dependent on tourism for much of its economy -- the city of Bethlehem is STRUGGLING AGAINST ALL ODDS. ISRAEL HAS DECIDED TO close most of the city to even Holy Clergy who have churches within. Most businesses are closed down. Jesus' birthplace is a ghetto.
How magnificent yet how threatening this pall of black clouds that hangs over the city of peace, a veritable shroud of doom and despair as the threat of peace raises the specter of fear in the hearts of the secular Zionists whose purpose is to destroy the faith of brotherly love by denying the message of the Angels of God, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men.”
How diabolical the wall that rises over the Palestinian who walks beside this cement encasement of the people of Bethlehem, ostensibly a wall to secure the safety of the Jews in this Jewish state by keeping them isolated from the message of the Angels lest the inclusiveness of its brilliance makes the exclusivity of the Zionist Judaism a destructive force that threatens the attainment of peace for all humankind.
How inhuman to cement families behind such forms of fear, grotesque images of human failure where fear of fellow necessitates walling out all who are different, where security exists when one is isolated from his brother, a sister from her sister, when isolation breeds indifference, forgetfulness, an abiding hate of the unknown that blossoms inside the heart like some infectious disease and makes peace impossible.
How horrible that this fear in the deepest recesses of the Israeli state negates the teachings of the Prince of Peace, the baby born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, denying to the citizens of Israel the riches he brought to the whole world: Instruct the ignorant; Counsel the doubtful; Comfort the sorrowful; Bear wrongs patiently; Forgive all injuries; Pray for the living and the dead.
How truly sad that the nation of Israel cannot see their brothers and sisters on the other side of that wall, that they do not wish to see them open their doors to all who wish to worship at the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, that they do not realize the depth of the internal fear roused in the hearts of all who come to that wall, humiliated that they cannot open their hearts to their God without displaying a passport to justify their purpose, knowing that those who “man” the towers and those who, weapons in hand, check them at military points, deny this God of Peace because he is a threat to the truth of their beliefs; perhaps that is the fear that resorts to military might to control, to the power of wealth to force the building of such a monstrous atrocity that symbolically denies humanity its very soul by caging humans in a tomb waiting till the lack of air suffocates the people of Bethlehem.
William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California where he served for 13 years as Vice President for Academic Affairs before assuming his faculty position in 2001. Prior to coming to California, he served as a Dean of Faculty, Chair of Department of English and faculty member at institutions large and small, public and private in four eastern states. He is an activist and a writer for numerous Internet publications including Counterpunch, Salem-News.com, Pacific Free Press in British Columbia, Dissident Voice and Information Clearing House, serving as senior editor for MWC News out of Canada, and contributing editor at the Palestine Chronicle, the Atlantic Free Press in the Netherlands, and the World Prout Assembly, his polemics against the Bush administration and the atrocities caused by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert in Israel, now our 51st state, have been spread around the Internet world and translated into French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Italian. Cook also serves on the Board of the People’s Media Project, interviews on radio and TV in South Africa, Canada, Iran and the United States and contributed for five years yearly predictions to the Hong Kong Economic News. This volume follows his Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied: The Rape of Palestine and continues his scourge against the hypocrisy, deceit, and destructive policies that have characterized American mid-east policy and its destructive alliance with the Zionist forces that have turned Israel into an apartheid state determined to destroy the Palestinian people.
In addition to his polemics, he writes plays (The Unreasoning Mask, co-authored with his wife, D’Arcy, and The Agony of Colin Powell), satires (see “Advancing the Civilized State: Inch by Bloody Inch” in The Rape), and poetry (Psalms for the 21st Century). His most recent fictional work creates a morality tale based upon real life figures that haunt our lives, The Chronicles of Nefaria He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.drwilliamacook.com..
The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction is a collection of voices from around the world that establishes in both theoretical and graphic terms the slow, methodical genocide taking place in Palestine beginning in the 1940s, as revealed in the Introduction. From Dr. Francis A. Boyle’s detailed legal case against the state of Israel, to Uri Avnery’s “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” to Richard Falk’s “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” to Ilan Pappe’s “Genocide in Gaza,” these voices decry in startling, vivid, and forceful language the calculated atrocities taking place, the inhumane conditions inflicted on the people, and the silence that exists despite the crimes, nothing short of state-sponsored genocide against the Palestinians.
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