That benign occupation

Firas Aridah, International Herald Tribune, December 22:

For the 39th consecutive year, Palestinian Christians in towns and villages like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Aboud will celebrate Christmas under Israeli military occupation. In Aboud, our hardships increased in October 2005, when the Israeli military issued confiscation orders to seize land owned by village residents to build Israel’s security barrier, or wall. The orders were given without consultation with the land owners, contradicting what is expected from a democratic government.

Aboud is a small village northwest of Jerusalem, five kilometers from the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border. The Christian history of Aboud is said to date from when Jesus and the Holy Family passed through Aboud en route from the Galilee to Jerusalem. There are remains of nine ancient Christian Churches here that are visited by pilgrims from around the world.

Local tradition holds that Aboud’s residents received the Christian faith from Jesus himself, who is said to have preached here.