Bethlehem removes historic 'Palestine' monument

City takes down monument of historic Palestine that ignores the existence of Israel; Palestinian activists put it back in place.

By
March 19, 2013 17:32
2 minute read.
CHURCH of the Nativity in Bethlehem

CHURCH of the Nativity in Bethlehem 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Bethlehem Municipality has removed a stone monument of historic Palestine out of concern that US President Barack Obama would see it during his visit to the city later this week.

Palestinian activists expressed outrage over the removal of the monument, which ignores the existence of Israel, and called on the municipality to restore it immediately.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel

But rather than wait for the municipality, the activists, together with some municipal council members, put the monument back in place.

Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun denied Tuesday that the monument, along with an olive tree, had been removed because of Obama’s visit. She said the original plan was to replace only the olive tree with a statue of a white dove – the work of a local artist.

Baboun said that the decision to remove the monument, which depicts a map of historic Palestine without Israel, had been taken unanimously by the Bethlehem municipal council.

The monument will be replaced with a statue of a white dove symbolizing peace, she said.



However, members of the Bethlehem municipal council denied that they had voted in favor of removing the stone monument. They said the municipal council would launch an investigation into the case to find out who gave the order to remove the monument.

Maher Qanawati, member of the Bethlehem municipal council, expressed regret over the removal of the monument. He strongly denied that the municipality had voted in favor of removing the monument.

The monument was established to mark the “birth of the State of Palestine on November 29, 2012, and the launching of the Palestinian revolution on January 1, 1965,” its inscription states.

On Monday, scores of Palestinian activists in Bethlehem tore up, trampled on and set fire to pictures of Obama near Manger Square. Some hurled shoes at a US diplomatic vehicle as it passed near the area, expressing their opposition to Obama’s visit to their city.

Shortly afterward, the activists were surprised to see a small bulldozer working to remove the stone monument from the Nisan Square on Manger Street. The activists managed to put the monument back in its place after threatening the municipality workers.

Najla al-Hajj, director of the Aman charitable organization and wife of a Palestinian who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison, told the Palestine Network News agency that the Palestinians have the right to “set up any monument or map that represents their struggle and steadfastness.”

Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh commented on the removal of the monument by saying: “Instead of the olive tree and the map, the idea is that Mr. Obama will see a new thing: a dove at the entrance to Bethlehem. The people gathered and stopped the work. Some said that the PA was acting as a subcontractor for the Israeli authorities.”

Related Content

cannabis weed marijuana medical plant pot joint
July 18, 2018
Lebanon to consider legalizing cannabis growing

By REUTERS