Christmas is a life story of hope about a family of refugees escaping oppression and about a star that lights the straight path of the human spirit to care for the oppressed and speak truth to power. Radiating peace is our holy duty.
The Holy Land of Palestine rocks the Christmas cradle of Bethlehem from where the Christ Child’s blessings of joy and peace radiate out to the world . . . but not to the men, women,  youth, children and infants of Palestine. 
The Holy Family fled the death threat of King Herod, but Palestinians have been under the Israeli Herods’ military lockdown since 1947.
Speaking of lockdown, concerning COVID-19 Palestinians are suffering an Apartheid Lockdown; a week ago Israel rolled out its vaccination campaign that, “will include Jewish settlers living deep inside the illegally occupied West Bank, who are Israeli citizens, but not the territory’s 2.5 million Palestinians.” Al Jazeera 
COVID has hit Palestinians hard in locked-in Gaza; you may remember I wrote in AMUST about a desperate father, Khalil El Halabi who with great love, fortitude and determination has been working for 4 years to free his innocent son Mohammad from Israeli detention.
Khalil and I were planning a December campaign but he went silent for weeks. This lion of a man had been hospitalised with Covid for 25 days.
And while Christian families gather together for Christmas lunch the El Halabi family remain bereft of Mohammad who will face court far off in Bir al-Saba  بئر السبع‎ for the 154th time on 5 January 2021. 
For the great Sufi poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi, the birth of the Prophet, Isa ibn Maryam (a), peace be upon him, is an allegory of the soul and the birth pangs of compassion open all humankind to the radiance of Love.
Love and Justice are the Divine Nature of God, and it is our human responsibility to be love and justice in action. So let us act in response to a powerful Christmas message and appeal I came across on Facebook and was given permission to share it with AMUST readers by the Palestinian author, Ray Saadeh, who was born in Bethlehem….

Ray Saadeh.

“As Palestinian Christians, we consider Christ a Palestinian warrior who stood up for and defended the poor, the weak and the marginalized. He defied the Roman Empire and the corrupt Jewish religious leaders who demanded his execution. 
Christians across the globe are clearly instructed in the Holy Bible to stand up against hatred, violence, persecution, injustice, marginalization and apartheid. Thus they must stand up against Israel, period. The Israeli occupation supported by Western Colonial Governments is the only foreign occupation in history that is tirelessly working on eradicating Palestine’s Christian minority in addition to the countless daily crimes against the majority Muslim population.

The living stones, Palestinian Christians who for 2000 years preserved Christ’s message of love, hope, reconciliation and salvation are on the verge of extinction in the birthplace of Christ and Christianity. 
Will the Western Christian World come to our rescue and preserve Palestine’s Muslim and Christian grief-stricken, bleeding and heartbroken communities this Christmas season or will they continue their betrayal of Christ and his unambiguous teachings?

Merry Christmas to you and your family and most sincere wishes for a healthy and blessed Holiday Season! 

Palestine 🇵🇸 will always be victorious God’s willing.”

Ray Saadeh, San Diego via Bethlehem.