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Bethlehem: Living Nativity under Separation Wall

Watchtower looms over the Nativity scene

Watchtower looms over the Nativity scene

The Arab Educational Institute has held a Living Nativity scene in front of the Separation Wall and the military watchtower near Rachel's Tomb in northern Bethlehem, Palestine. On the watchtower is written: "Once a Teacher of Human Rights was born." During the occasion, the girl standing in the grotto sang "Silent Night, Holy Night", while the women's choir of the Arab Educational Institute performed Christmas carols.

The celebration was attended by some 150 civilians, including the mayor of Bethlehem, delegates of the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah and Bethlehem, dozens of Palestinian teachers and representatives of churches and mosques also from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas. There were further a visiting group of IKV Pax Christi (a peace movement from the Netherlands), and human rights observers of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Peace in Palestine and Israel
(EAPPI).

Prayers for peace  and messages of good will were read out - these  had been sent through a Christmas appeal to send wishes and prayers to Bethlehem - an initiative of Pax Christi, the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum of the World Council of Churches, Church and Peace, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Presidency of the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions, the Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples, and the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation USG/UISG Secretariat.

The scene preceded an occasion of the Arab Educational Institute in which Human Rights Day (Jesus as human rights activist), Teacher's Day (Jesus as teacher), and Christmas were jointly celebrated with speeches of dignitaries, readings from the Bible and Koran, and Moslem and Christian poetry.

For more information see: www.aeicenter.org