Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 23.12.2015:
Toine van Teeffelen
Mary visits the Ightibaat (the Israeli-Palestinian liaison) in Bethlehem for a permit for Tamer, who quickly grows and will likely not so easily pass the checkpoint to Jerusalem.
There are many rumours that all kinds of travel permits are handed out during the Christmas period. Mary reads on news agency Maan a list of travel permits that are handed out: for Christians in Gaza to go to the West Bank, to go from the West Bank to Gaza, or for West Bankers to go to the airport.
A Christmas gift?
You always have to wait and see. Yesterday an acquaintance was denied a permit to go to the airport at the very last moment. Of course the manipulations with permits are intended to keep the Palestinian population dependent and transform traveling in one’s own country into a special gift.
Yet another gift: Israel handed over the body of 19-year old Maram Hassouneh from Nablous, 22 days after she was shot dead after an apparent attempt to stab a soldier. Also the body of 72-year old Tharwat al-Sharawi was handed over 45 days after she drove a car into a group of Israeli soldiers along the Hebron-Bethlehem road, according to the Israeli army’s account. Israel still keeps 21 bodies of persons from the Hebron district who were killed during the last few months. The purpose is apparently the prevention of demonstrative funerals.
A Facebook friend sends a cartoon of a Palestinian lady who asks Santa Claus: “All I want this year for Christmas is to have my loved ones rest in peace and buried in dignity.”
The Israeli embassy in the United States sends each year a Christmas gift basket to its relations. This time the basket is made up exclusively of products from the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. The Christmas gift package includes wine, olive oil, body crème, and halva, tells the ambassador to the Huffington Post.
He considers this decision a way to fight “the last attempt of Israel’s enemies to destroy the one and only Jewish state,” referring specifically to the EU’s recent decision to label products from the settlements.
The enemy? The Boycot, Divestment and Sanctions movement.