"Bethlehem is a ghetto, surrounded by the illegal Israeli (read Jewish) 8 metre high apartheid barrier designed not for security but the theft of 80% of Bethlehem's land to build a ring of illegal Jewish settlements. These photos provide an insight into life in the ghetto behind the wall. Why is the world so silent?"

One of the Wall's sniper towers

One of the Wall's sniper towers


Bethlehem is a Palestinian city about 45 minutes drive from Jerusalem. At least, that's about how long it should take. Like any place in the West Bank, the time to travel between almost any two given villages, towns or cities is entirely dependant on the Israeli soldiers manning the numerous checkpoints dotted around the whole area. The trip therefore, can and does regularly take hours longer, and sometimes is prevented altogether.

One day in November, while taking a break in Jerusalem from volunteer olive picking up in Nablus, a few of us decided to take a trip to Bethlehem. Sarah, my Aussie mate who had previously shown me around the Mount of Olives, had volunteered in the offices of a Palestinian peace group there for a few months, so knew the city pretty well and offered to show us around.

Some of the graffiti on Israel's Apartheid Wall around Bethlehem

Some of the graffiti on Israel's Apartheid Wall around Bethlehem


Bethlhem agricultural land surrounded by the Wall

Bethlhem agricultural land surrounded by the Wall


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.

No wonder, considering the whole city is like a prison. The only way through the Wall is though a series of cattle gates in an Israeli army compound that looks to me very much like the villain's den in James Bond films (it even has the aerial gangways to shoot from!).


Who are Bethlehem Bloggers?

So; Who are we? And what is the point of a Bethlehem Blog?

This site is a portal for us to communicate to the outside world and tell the stories of our lives in Bethlehem, occupied Palestine. It is also a window for you to look in; to see past the walls, barbed wire fences, and the media distortions; to hear from the people in Bethlehem themselves.

We are Palestinians and internationals who are living in the Bethlehem region (see Map), and who want to tell the world what it is like to be living in occupied territory, under an economic siege, encircled by a wall and military checkpoints: what it is like to live in a Palestinian Ghetto.

We invite you to come to see Bethlehem—to meet the people who live here and witness the occupied land of Palestine for yourselves. For those who cannot come, we provide you with this “weblog” so you can at least hear our stories: voices from the Bethlehem Ghetto.

Though some of us are working with organizations in the area, the Bethlehem Blog is not affiliated with any party, NGO or organization in any way (the links bar is purely for information sharing). We are simply like-minded individuals who share a need to show the world the effects of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and in particular, Bethlehem.

We welcome comments and suggestions, but we have a strict policy for our comments. Any form of racism, discrimination of any kind or abuse in general will not be tolerated.

Contact us at:

The Bethlehem Ghetto

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