Tag Archives: foreign-policy

tmi196x196.gif

April 24, 2014

To understand how thoughtless the US latest peace process drive has been, one only needs to consider some of the characters involved in this political theater. One particular character who stands out as a testament to the inherently futile exercise is Martin Indyk.

Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, was selected by Secretary of State John Kerry for the role of Special Envoy for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Under normal circumstances, Kerrys selection may appear somewhat rational. Former ambassadors oftentimes possess the needed expertise to navigate challenging political landscapes in countries where they previously served. But these are not normal circumstances, and Indyk is hardly a diplomat in the strict use of the term.

As the US-sponsored peace process began to falter, Kerry made a peculiar move by dispatching his envoy Indyk to Jerusalem. On Friday, April 18, Indyk took on the task of speaking to both sides separately. International media depicted the event as a last ditch effort to revive the talks, and to help bridge the gap between the PAs Mahmoud Abbas and Israels Benjamin Netanyahu. The envoy visit took place a day after intense and difficult talks were reported to have taken place between Israeli and PA negotiators. No breakthrough was made, an official Palestinian source told AFP of the Thursday meeting.

It was not that any progress was expected. Both sides are not talking about resolving the conflict per se, but the deliberations were mostly concerned with deferring Kerrys deadline for a framework agreement, slated for April 29.

The Americans want to maintain the charade for reasons other than peace. Without a “peace process” the US will be denied an important political platform in the Middle East. US administrations have bestowed upon themselves the title honest broker. Of course, it takes no particular genius to realise that the Americans were hardly honest in their dealings with both parties. In fact, the US was not a third party at all, but was and remains steadfast in the Israeli camp. It used its political and financial leverage as a platform that allowed it to advance Israeli interests first, and their own interests second. Indyk is an example.

Martin Indyk, the prospective harbinger of peace, worked for the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC in 1982. AIPAC is a rightwing outlet that has invested unlimited funds and energy to impede any just and peaceful resolution to the conflict. It has such a strong grip over US Congress to the extent that some have suggested that Capitol Hill has become, in a sense, an occupied territory by Israel and its allies. Indyks most important contribution to Israel, however, was the founding of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Winep) in 1985, another Israeli lobby outlet that has done tremendous damage to the credibility of US foreign policy in the Middle East by using intellectuals and experts as mediums.

Writing in Mondoweiss last year, Max Blumenthal recalled some interesting statements made by Indyk at J Streets first annual convention in Washington DC in 2009. J Street is another Israeli lobby group that has cleverly distinguished itself as pro-peace, thus deceiving many into believing that AIPACs dominance in Washington is being seriously challenged. However, its cleverly worded statements, and the colorful past of its honored guests and speakers indicate otherwise. Indyk, the rightwing Israel lobbyist, was indeed among friends.

I remembered stumbling into a huge auditorium to hear Indyk describe how he made aliyah to Washington during the 1980s to ensure that US policy remained slanted in Israels favor, and go on to blame Yasser Arafat for the failure of Camp David, Blumenthal recalled.

He quoted Indyk. I came to that conclusion 35 years ago when I was a student in Jerusalem and the Yom Kippur war broke out, said Indyk. I worked as a volunteer there in those terrible days when Israels survival seemed to hang in the balance and I witnessed the misery of war and the critical role that the United States in the form of Henry Kissinger played through activist diplomacy in forging a peace out of that horrendous war.

Visit link:

tmi196x196.gif

Posted in Max Blumenthal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Martin Indyks Galloping Horse:Moral Crisis in Obamas Peace

by Ramzy Baroud April 24, 2014

To understand how thoughtless the US latest peace process drive has been, one only needs to consider some of the characters involved in this political theater. One particular character who stands out as a testament to the inherently futile exercise is Martin Indyk.

Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, was selected by Secretary of State John Kerry for the role of Special Envoy for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Under normal circumstances, Kerrys selection may appear somewhat rational. Former ambassadors oftentimes possess the needed expertise to navigate challenging political landscapes in countries where they previously served. But these are not normal circumstances, and Indyk is hardly a diplomat in the strict use of the term.

As the US-sponsored peace process began to falter, Kerry made a peculiar move by dispatching his envoy Indyk to Jerusalem. On Friday, April 18, Indyk took on the task of speaking to both sides separately. International media depicted the event as a last ditch effort to revive the talks, and to help bridge the gap between the PAs Mahmoud Abbas and Israels Benjamin Netanyahu. The envoy visit took place a day after intense and difficult talks were reported to have taken place between Israeli and PA negotiators. No breakthrough was made, an official Palestinian source told AFP of the Thursday meeting.

It was not that any progress was expected. Both sides are not talking about resolving the conflict per se, but the deliberations were mostly concerned with deferring Kerrys deadline for a framework agreement, slated for April 29.

The Americans want to maintain the charade for reasons other than peace. Without a peace process the US will be denied an important political platform in the Middle East. US administrations have bestowed upon themselves the title honest broker. Of course, it takes no particular genius to realize that the Americans were hardly honest in their dealings with both parties. In fact, the US was not a third party at all, but was and remains steadfast in the Israeli camp. It used its political and financial leverage as a platform that allowed it to advance Israeli interests first, and their own interests second. Indyk is an example.

Martin Indyk, the prospective harbinger of peace, worked for the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC in 1982. AIPAC is a rightwing outlet that has invested unlimited funds and energy to impede any just and peaceful resolution to the conflict. It has such a strong grip over US Congress to the extent that some have suggested that Capitol Hill has become, in a sense, an occupied territory by Israel and its allies. Indyks most important contribution to Israel, however, was the founding of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985, another Israeli lobby outlet that has done tremendous damage to the credibility of US foreign policy in the Middle East by using intellectuals and experts as mediums.

Writing in Mondoweiss last year, Max Blumenthal recalled some interesting statements made by Indyk at J Streets first annual convention in Washington DC in 2009. J Street is another Israeli lobby group that has cleverly distinguished itself as pro-peace, thus deceiving many into believing that AIPACs dominance in Washington is being seriously challenged. However, its cleverly worded statements, and the colorful past of its honored guests and speakers indicate otherwise. Indyk, the rightwing Israel lobbyist, was indeed among friends.

I remembered stumbling into a huge auditorium to hear Indyk describe how he made aliyah to Washington during the 1980s to ensure that US policy remained slanted in Israels favor, and go on to blame Yasser Arafat for the failure of Camp David, Blumenthal recalled.

He quoted Indyk. I came to that conclusion 35 years ago when I was a student in Jerusalem and the Yom Kippur war broke out, said Indyk. I worked as a volunteer there in those terrible days when Israels survival seemed to hang in the balance and I witnessed the misery of war and the critical role that the United States in the form of Henry Kissinger played through activist diplomacy in forging a peace out of that horrendous war.

Read this article:

Martin Indyks Galloping Horse:Moral Crisis in Obamas Peace

Posted in Max Blumenthal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Should Abbas jump on Indyks galloping horse?

To understand how thoughtless the US latest peace process drive has been, one only needs to consider some of the characters involved in this political theater. One particular character who stands out as a testament to the inherently futile exercise is Martin Indyk. Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, was selected by Secretary of State John Kerry for the role of special envoy for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Under normal circumstances, Kerrys selection may appear somewhat rational. Former ambassadors oftentimes possess the needed expertise to navigate challenging political landscapes in countries where they previously served. But these are not normal circumstances and Indyk is hardly a diplomat in the strict use of the term. As the US-sponsored peace process began to falter, Kerry made a peculiar move by dispatching his envoy Indyk to Jerusalem. On April 18, Indyk took on the task of speaking to both sides separately. International media depicted the event as a last ditch effort to revive the talks and to help bridge the gap between the PAs Mahmoud Abbas and Israels Benjamin Netanyahu. The envoys visit took place a day after intense and difficult talks were reported to have taken place between Israeli and PA negotiators. No breakthrough was made, an official Palestinian source told AFP of the Thursday meeting. It was not that any progress was expected. Both sides are not talking about resolving the conflict per se, but the deliberations were mostly concerned with deferring Kerrys deadline for a framework agreement, slated for April 29. The Americans want to maintain the charade for reasons other than peace. Without a peace process the US will be denied an important political platform in the Middle East. US administrations have bestowed upon themselves the title honest broker. Of course, it takes no particular genius to realize that the Americans were hardly honest in their dealings with both parties. In fact, the US was not a third party at all, but was and remains steadfast in the Israeli camp. It used its political and financial leverage as a platform that allowed it to advance Israeli interests first and their own interests second. Indyk is an example. Martin Indyk, the prospective harbinger of peace, worked for the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC in 1982. AIPAC is a rightwing outlet that has invested unlimited funds and energy to impede any just and peaceful resolution to the conflict. It has such a strong grip over US Congress that some have suggested that Capitol Hill has become, in a sense, an occupied territory by Israel and its allies. Indyks most important contribution to Israel, however, was the founding of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985, another Israeli lobby outlet that has done tremendous damage to the credibility of US foreign policy in the Middle East by using intellectuals and experts as mediums. Writing in Mondoweiss last year, Max Blumenthal recalled some interesting statements made by Indyk at J Streets first annual convention in Washington, D.C. in 2009. J Street is another Israeli lobby group that has cleverly distinguished itself as pro-peace, thus deceiving many into believing that AIPACs dominance in Washington is being seriously challenged. However, its cleverly worded statements and the colorful past of its honored guests and speakers indicate otherwise. Indyk, the rightwing Israel lobbyist, was indeed among friends. I remembered stumbling into a huge auditorium to hear Indyk describe how he made aliyah to Washington during the 1980s to ensure that US policy remained slanted in Israels favor and go on to blame Yasser Arafat for the failure of Camp David, Blumenthal recalled. He quoted Indyk. I came to that conclusion 35 years ago when I was a student in Jerusalem and the Yom Kippur war broke out, said Indyk. I worked as a volunteer there in those terrible days when Israels survival seemed to hang in the balance and I witnessed the misery of war and the critical role that the United States in the form of Henry Kissinger played through activist diplomacy in forging a peace out of that horrendous war. These were not passing comments made by Indyk, but a reflection of the mans undying commitment, not to peace, but to Israel, or, more accurately, to peace as envisioned by Israel, which is the core of the ongoing crisis. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu never ceases to talk about peace, as does his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Even Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett who is leader of the extremist party, The Jewish Home, who is known for his bellicose rhetoric, is an ardent advocate of peace. But it is not peace that is predicated on justice or that envisaged by international and humanitarian laws. It is specifically tailored peace that would allow Israel to maintain an unmistakably racist agenda, and a colonial policy of land grabbing. Unsurprisingly, this is the same kind of peace that the Americans envision as well. Kerrys new peace agenda is not entirely a rehash of old agendas. Yes, it is that too, but it almost completely embraces the once far-fetched ideas of Lieberman and rightwing groups, that of annexations the Jordan Valley and land swaps in exchange of main settlement blocs. When Lieberman floated these ideas a few years ago, he sounded like a deranged politician. Thanks to Kerry, it is now part of mainstream thinking. So Indyk, who dedicated a lifetime to securing an Israeli style peace, is now magically branded as the one attempting to revive talks and exert pressure on both sides like any good honest broker would do in these situations. But Indyk is not the only lobbyist-turned advocate for peace. He is one of many. Dennis Ross, one of Washingtons essential political hawks for many years and a strong supporter of the disastrous Iraq war, served as a special Middle East coordinator under Bill Clinton, and was handpicked by President Barack Obama very early on to continue to the play the same role in the new administration. Aside from the diplomats strong links to neoconservatives, especially those involved in the now defunct pro-war group, the Project for the New American Century; he also served as a consultant to the same lobby club founded by Indyk, WINEP. It was no coincident of course. WINEP, as other hawkish pro-Israeli groups, has served as an advocacy platform for Israel, and also fashioned Israeli-styled peacemakers. Interestingly, both Dennis and Indyk blamed Palestinians for the failure of previous peace talks. Blumenthal astutely highlighted Indyks J Street tirade blaming late PLO leader Arafat for the failings of the so-called Clinton peace parameters, despite the fact that Arafat had indeed accepted them. Indyk reminisced: I remember Shimon Peres saying to me at the time when Arafat had to decide whether to accept the Clinton Parameters, he said, history is a horse that gallops past your window and the true act of a statesman is to jump from the window on to a galloping horse. But of course Arafat let the galloping horse pass by leaving the Israelis and Palestinians mired in misery. Now, its Indyk, the die-hard Israel lobbyist, being sent along with another galloping horse outside Abbas window. We all know well how this is going to end, and we can imagine Indyk giving another speech at an AIPAC or J Street conference deriding Abbas for failing to jump.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com Email: [emailprotected]

Continued here:

Should Abbas jump on Indyks galloping horse?

Posted in Max Blumenthal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Britain, Germany, France Urge De-Escalation in Ukraine

By Dow Jones Business News, April 14, 2014, 12:25:00 PM EDT LONDON–The leaders of Britain, Germany, and France agree that the occupation of government buildings in eastern Ukraine is illegal and have called on all parties, particularly Russia, to de-escalate the situation, the British government said Monday. Over the weekend, pro-Russia protests spread in eastern Ukraine as armed men, some in unmarked, military-style uniforms, moved to occupy more government buildings–a dramatic escalation that the Ukrainian government and Washington tied to Moscow.

Read more from the original source:

Britain, Germany, France Urge De-Escalation in Ukraine

Posted in Occupy France | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Occupy Bilderberg | Bilderberg 2013 The Grove Hotel …

Published time: June 04, 2013 23:12 Edited time: June 05, 2013 14:17 (Source)

During the worlds most secretive gathering the Bilderberg Group is set to discuss topics including cyber warfare, US foreign policy, developments in the Middle East and Africas challenges despite the glaring absence of regional representatives.

The Bilderberg Group, long criticized for a lack of transparency, has revealed details of its upcoming meeting. This year 138 politicians, bank bosses, billionaires, chief executives and European royalty have confirmed their attendance to the invitation-only event, set to take place in Watford, England. The list notably includes only 14 women.

The group is comprised largely of individuals from financial and business backgrounds there will be nearly three dozen CEOs and more than two dozen Chairmen of banks and petroleum giants. Twenty-three financial institutions will be represented at the five-star Grove Hotel near Watford, Hertfordshire, including Goldman Sachs.

As the list was released, critics could not help but point fingers at problems some of the attendees are currently facing in their respective fields.

Special attention has been placed on Amazons founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Googles Eric Schmidt, as the two are currently facing unprecedented political pressure over their tax avoidance strategies. Google, for its part, has faced scrutiny amid reports that it paid just 10 million in corporation tax in Britain between 2006 and 2011, despite revenues of 11.9 billion.

Chancellor George Osborne and his Labour shadow Ed Balls, who have been making headlines with their spending and tax offers for the UK, will also rub shoulders with other participants of the Bilderberg Conference.

One of the guests is group chairman of HSBC Holdings plc, which faced a stringent investigation in 2012 for allegedly assisting in the laundering of money from Mexico, Iran and Syria for terrorist networks and drugs cartels.

Among guests there are also the 75th and 70th US Treasury Secretaries, Tim Geithner and Robert Rubin, respectively.

Read the original here:

Occupy Bilderberg | Bilderberg 2013 The Grove Hotel …

Posted in Occupy Bilderberg | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

European Leaders Lash Out at Russia Over Ukraine

By Stacy Meichtry PARIS–European leaders lashed out at Russia on Saturday, as Moscow moved to deploy troops in Ukraine’s pro-Russian region of Crimea, but they struggled to articulate what action, if any, they are prepared to take in response. The chorus of European officials–from the U.K. and Finland to Germany, France and Spain–expressed alarm over Moscow’s military plans, yet the outcry only underscored how badly the bloc has been caught flat-footed by a swift- moving President Vladimir Putin

Here is the original post:

European Leaders Lash Out at Russia Over Ukraine

Posted in Occupy France | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile

The Associated Press Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and his wife Akie wave as they depart for Africa, at Haneda Airport in Tokyo Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Abe is heading to Africa, keeping up a busy overseas travel schedule designed to boost Japan’s global profile in the face of China’s rise. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

By KEN MORITSUGU/Associated Press/January 9, 2014

TOKYO (AP) Japans leader departed for a weeklong African tour Thursday, keeping up a busy travel schedule designed to restore Japans global influence in the face of Chinas rise, as well as help Japanese companies win business overseas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will make a short visit to the Mideast state of Oman before heading to the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, is taking a different approach to foreign policy than his immediate predecessors, visiting a wider range of countries to try to broaden Japans diplomatic reach.

Publicly, Japanese officials deny that Abes travels have anything to do with China. Wherever he goes, Prime Minister Abe is asked if he is there to compete against China, but thats not our intention at all, Hiroshige Seko, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, said in an interview Thursday. As far as the African nations are concerned, they are important regardless of China.

But the unofficial backdrop is Chinas rise, and the relative decline of a once ascendant Japan during two decades of economic stagnation. Abe wants to restore confidence in Japan, both at home and abroad. He often gives speeches and high-profile media interviews when he travels, for example promoting his Abenomics growth policies to bankers in London and New York.

Its partly about outflanking China, but also about gaining more global respect for Japan and renewing ties with natural allies in Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East, said Kent Calder, the director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

A series of revolving-door prime ministers who served brief terms have hurt Japans diplomacy, and Seko said Abe feels responsible because it started with him during an earlier stint as leader in 2006-07. What Prime Minister Abe is trying to do is to regain what Japan has lost over the past few years, he said.

Abe touched down in 25 countries in 2013, his first year in office. He was the first Japanese leader to go to the Philippines since he visited in 2006, and made it a point to hit all 10 Southeast Asian countries. Other stops ranged from major Persian Gulf oil producers to Turkey, Poland and Mongolia.

Abe told reporters before his departure that Africa can be seen as a frontier for Japans diplomacy. Japan is a longtime aid donor to Africa, and it has stepped up its assistance over the past five years. In June, Japan hosted a meeting attended by nearly 40 heads-of-state of African nations, and pledged another $14 billion over the next five years, as well as promises of billions more in private investment.

Go here to read the rest:

Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile

Posted in Stop Globalization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

By KEN MORITSUGU Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s leader departed for a weeklong African tour Thursday, keeping up a busy travel schedule designed to restore Japan’s global influence in the face of China’s rise, as well as help Japanese companies win business overseas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will make a short visit to the Mideast state of Oman before heading to the Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia, is taking a different approach to foreign policy than his immediate predecessors, visiting a wider range of countries to try to broaden Japan’s diplomatic reach.

Publicly, Japanese officials deny that Abe’s travels have anything to do with China. “Wherever he goes, Prime Minister Abe is asked if he is there to compete against China, but that’s not our intention at all,” Hiroshige Seko, a deputy chief cabinet secretary, said in an interview Thursday. “As far as the African nations are concerned, they are important regardless of China.”

But the unofficial backdrop is China’s rise, and the relative decline of a once ascendant Japan during two decades of economic stagnation. Abe wants to restore confidence in Japan, both at home and abroad. He often gives speeches and high-profile media interviews when he travels, for example promoting his “Abenomics” growth policies to bankers in London and New York.

It’s partly about outflanking China, but also about gaining more global respect for Japan and renewing ties with natural allies in Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East, said Kent Calder, the director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

A series of revolving-door prime ministers who served brief terms have hurt Japan’s diplomacy, and Seko said Abe feels responsible because it started with him during an earlier stint as leader in 2006-07. “What Prime Minister Abe is trying to do is to regain what Japan has lost over the past few years,” he said.

Abe touched down in 25 countries in 2013, his first year in office. He was the first Japanese leader to go to the Philippines since he visited in 2006, and made it a point to hit all 10 Southeast Asian countries. Other stops ranged from major Persian Gulf oil producers to Turkey, Poland and Mongolia.

Abe told reporters before his departure that Africa can be seen as “a frontier for Japan’s diplomacy.” Japan is a longtime aid donor to Africa, and it has stepped up its assistance over the past five years. In June, Japan hosted a meeting attended by nearly 40 heads-of-state of African nations, and pledged another $14 billion over the next five years, as well as promises of billions more in private investment.

Those efforts have been overshadowed by China’s imports of raw materials, massive infrastructure projects and exports of affordable consumer goods that are widely credited with helping lift African economies in the 21st century.

Here is the original post:

Abe heads to Africa to boost Japan’s profile – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

Posted in Stop Globalization | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Thousands celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Dec. 25 (UPI) — Thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Christian worshipers celebrated Christmas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, officials said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah were among the dozens of dignitaries at the Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, Israel Radio and the Ma’an news agency reported.

Choirs from all over the world gathered in Manger Square Tuesday night and sung Christmas carols, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Hotels in the city boasted full occupancy, Israel Radio reported.

An estimated 30,000 Palestinian Christians live in Bethlehem and the surrounding vicinity, the radio said.

During the holiday season that started on Dec.19 and will end on Jan.20, the Israeli army said it would allow an unlimited number of Christian Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Israel and celebrate with their relatives and families. In addition, Israel issued 200 entry permits to Palestinians living abroad that will enable them to celebrate with their families during the holiday season. In addition 500 Palestinian Christians from the Gaza Strip under the age of 16 and over the age of 35, were allowed to enter Israel and the West Bank to participate in the festivities, the army said.

The BBC said the number of visitors to Bethlehem has steadily increased in recent years.

See the original post:

Thousands celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem

Posted in West Bank | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Crowds throng Bethlehem for Christmas

By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH Associated Press

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) – Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations on Tuesday, bringing warm holiday cheer to the biblical birthplace of Jesus on a cool, clear night.

The heavy turnout, its highest in years, helped lift spirits in Bethlehem as leaders expressed hope that the coming year would finally bring the Palestinians an independent state of their own.

“The message of Christmas is a message of peace, love and brotherhood. We have to be brothers with each other,” said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, as he arrived in town.

Excited tourists milled about the town’s Manger Square, stopping in restaurants and souvenir shops and admiring a large, illuminated Christmas Tree. Marching bands and scout troops performed for the visitors in the streets, and on a stage next to the tree.

Will Green of New York City, along with his wife, Debbie, and their 2-year-old daughter Daphne were among the crowds of people who greeted Twal’s motorcade as he entered town from nearby Jerusalem.

Green said that being in Bethlehem for Christmas was a dream come true. “All the stories that we grew up with. It’s here. It’s part of our life. We heard them in the family, school and church. This is the birthplace,” he said.

Green slowly pushed a stroller and his wife held their daughter as they followed a crowd toward the Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Palestinian dignitaries greeted Twal at the entrance of Bethlehem. His motorcade crawled through the town’s narrow streets as he stopped to shake hands and greet the throngs of visitors. It took him nearly 90 minutes to make the short trip to celebrate Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity compound.

Hundreds of people packed the compound for the service. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh were among the dignitaries in attendance.

See original here:

Crowds throng Bethlehem for Christmas

Posted in West Bank | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off