If you are missing the sights and sounds of the West Bank, if you have visited Bethlehem but only for a fleeting visit to the Church of the Nativity or if you would love to see the welcoming faces of Said and Elias from Holy Land Trust, you must watch their latest virtual tour.
Set at the northern edge of Bethlehem, Elias D’eis, Executive Director of Holy Land Trust, takes you on a whistle-stop tour that encompasses the geo-political, historical and spiritual aspects of this area. The film explains the importance of Rachel’s Tomb as a religious site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, its Biblical significance, and the role it used to play in Christian ceremonies.
Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, Elias explains the impact of the Oslo Agreement and the limits on Palestinian movement, the restrictions on the economy, and the zoning of the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C. He talks about the devastating effects that the wall, erected around Rachel’s Tomb in 2006, has had on the local area and we see the daily stress of moving across borders with shots of Checkpoint 300, crammed with people trying to get to work in the face of stringent controls.
The film is shot against the background of the wall, a daily reminder of the occupation, land confiscation, and loss of freedom. Artwork, graffiti, and political slogans mask an ugly reality that restricts the lives and of Palestinians every day, shutting off access to livelihoods, family, healthcare, and education.
The tour lasts just over three minutes but it is a clear reminder of the need for change and resistance, the impact of loss and confinement, the shared spiritual and religious significance of this region and Holy Land Trust’s commitment to building a better future with justice for all who call the land of Moses, Abraham and Jesus their home.
Jessica Foster - Amos Trust
Jessica is a tutor in Interfaith Engagement at the Queen's Foundation, a theological college in Birmingham and is an ordained Anglican deacon Jessica volunteers for Holy Land Trust a regular basis.