Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bar'am and Bethlehem

Our typical breakfast... here served at the International Center in Bethlehem... mmmm!

One of many churches in Bethlehem

Barbed wire is quite abundant here.

The International Center and Chirstmas Lutheran Church

Ruins of houses are now covered by fields in Bar'am.

Remi and Cath share a lunch break.

Our gracious guides; George Shalabi and "Mr. Tommy".
Mr. Tommy, a Maronite Christian, was forcibly removed his home in Bar'am when he was 21 years old. He now works to relate the true story.

Ancient Synagog at Bar'am, now a national park.
Today, this morning, we packed our stuff and left Mar Elias School for Bethlehem. On our way to Bethlehem, we stopped by Bar'am National Park. We picked up "Mr. Tommy" who used to grow up in what is now Bar'am National Park to speak to us about the place. Bar'am used to be a Maronite Christian village before 1948 but during the War of Independence, the villagers were evacuated and the site is now under the management of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. Right before the entrance to the park we stopped to read a post about the site. Mr. Tommy pointed out to us how the post about the site mentioned nothing about the people who used to live there before the Israeli government came in and claimed it theirs. On the post you can see the word "Israel" scratched off. Mr. Tommy showed us around the national park, which contained a synagogue and a church. He told us about how he used to play around the area when he was a child and showed us documentations claiming that the land used to belong to his family. After walking around the park, he took us to a nearby cemetary where his family was buried. It was such a beautiful cemetary! One of our student mentioned to the group later, how it was funny how the people cannot return to the land until they die.