In Bethlehem, shepherds watching their flocks by night are a dying breed…

Jewish settlements, Israeli army checkpoints, closed military zones and the separation wall make them an increasing rarity

Israeli military kills 20-year old Gazan for herding animals too close to buffer zone…

Merry Christmas indeed…

…The shepherd who had died was freshly married. His child had been born two days before. His father said, “I am open,” indicating a line running along his sternum. The young man who had died had been his oldest son, leaving three brothers and two sisters…

…Incessant, and nearly banal, and marked in the West by a thundering silence—the silence of a racism that roars at the death of a Jewish Israeli and does not even bother to shrug at the death of a Bedouin living with his sheep, amidst the soil that’s dry from the rains which still, at end of December, have not come.

And what remains for his father? The stink of Beit Lehiya’s open, fetid sewage pits glittering in Gaza’s hot January sun, and a kilometer or two north of their home, the ghetto wall running along Gaza’s northern frontier, with its watchtowers and their minders, one of whom put a hole in his son’s back for being on the wrong part of his own land, a mistake for which his child will pay by never knowing his father. There will be no apology forthcoming for that murder. The family probably won’t bother with an impotent lawsuit in the racist Israeli court system, and that same obdurate racism ensures that Salama’s murder will be reprised again and again in the coming days and weeks while Israeli snipers maintain Israel’s “security” in a buffer zone already monitored by endless surveillance towers, drones, motion sensors, tanks, and automated machine guns, all of it a constant reminder to his parents that their child’s murderer walks free somewhere north or east of that concrete wall while they while away their time fuming, anguished, asking us as we visit, rhetorically rather than desperately, “Where is our freedom?”

Mele Kalikimaka from my Ohana to ya’ll’s…! *g*