Living in Bethlehem Palestine, Surrounded by a Wall Isn't Easy

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Bethlehem

Living Free Surrounded by a Wall Isn’t Easy

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I know, living free surrounded by a wall can’t be easy and this is exactly how people live in Bethlehem Palestine. To get there, I took the #24 bus from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Here is what I saw and experienced.

First, this is my bus stop, where I left from and picked up my #24 bus. I didn’t drive because I wasn’t sure if my license plates were the right ones to drive there. My Jerusalem driving experience had been pretty scarey, so far. The car plates were probably ok, but I didn’t want to risk it after almost getting stoned on my way into Jerusalem. I became very cautious when it came to where I went in my car. I also always felt safer with my guide, Elias in the car.

The Bus, More about Bethlehem Palestine

More about Bethlehem Palestine

Elias (Elias Ghareeb elias@grace-tours.com) taught me so much about Palestine. He took me to many interesting places that I might have missed without his help. Here are some of the cool places we visited.

The #24 bus stop

More about Bethlehem Palestine

Here is where I departed from Jerusalem. When I arrived in Bethlehem at the bus station Elias was a little late, and the taxi drivers swarmed me until he picked me up. His silver car was the only one amongst the many yellow taxis.

You will never know how happy I was to see him because the taxi drivers are really aggressive.

We drove through the little town of Bethlehem and had delicious hot fresh pastries for breakfast. The town is ancient and many of the first Christians families live here. Many Arab Christians left Palestine. Those that remain make the best of the situation and learn how to live in a city surrounded by a wall.

The Wall Bethlehem Palestine

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Peace Center – WI’AM Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center – Bethlehem Palestine

We visited a Peace Center. We ended up going twice because I left some of my camera gear there. Elias drove me through the ancient lands around Bethlehem. Bethlehem, Palestine looks like any small town with one exception it has a concrete wall surrounding the city.

An interesting note is that the US government built these roads, and sometimes you will see signs thanking the USA for the roads and USAID. Here is an example of a sign – this sign is outside of Bethlehem on the highway on the way to Hebron.

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Bethlehem, a City of Contradictions

The giant wall contradicts, the normal daily life we witnessed. We went inside several churches and walked around. I spied a wedding and took my bride shot.

More about Bethlehem Palestine

Bethlehem Palestine

The town covered in graffiti everywhere in some ways is like any other suburb in Europe of the USA. People work, go to school and take care of their families. I took lots of pictures and felt very conflicted.

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How would you like to live next to this wall? Claire does. She lives right across the street from it and if you look through the peephole, you can see the Tomb of Rachael. She refuses to leave.

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Claire’s Home

Claire was defiant the day I meet her. She stood guard at her family’s gift shop. You can stay at her guest house, Claire’s Bed and Breakfast and it’s safe. Claire Is well respected in Bethlehem. You can contact her here.

You might want to add your support by shopping online at her gift store where she sells Olive Wood handcrafted items. Local craftsman crave Olive wood, mother of pearl and coral to create all types of gifts, crosses and Christmas mangers. If you want to reach her, she is happy to take emails and to sell her gift items online.

More about Bethlehem Palestine

More About Bethlehem, Palestine

In every direction, there are concrete walls built to keep Israel safe from the Palestinians.

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The Peace Center – WI’AM Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center

It is hard to believe the people in Bethlehem live like this.

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Arab Christians

Surprisingly, many Arab Christians have lived here since the times of Pentecost. We went to the WI’AM Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center to meet with the leadership team and to watch people from around the world talk about ways to encourage peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. By the way, this is another place where you might want to volunteer. WI’AM is also where I left my lens cap and found it before I went back to Jerusalem – Luckily it was lost and then found. More to come, stay tuned.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

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