Besieged Bethlehem: Jesus' birthplace crippled by Israeli occupation

Besieged Bethlehem: Jesus' birthplace crippled by Israeli occupation
1 min read
03 August, 2018
Bethlehem is suffocated by gun turrets and barbed wire, with Israel's eight-meter high segregation wall eclipsing verdant pastures and rolling hills.
Multi-religious Bethlehem is suffocated by gun turrets and Israel's eight-meter high segregation wall. [Getty]

Once an idyllic trade town closely linked to Jerusalem, Bethlehem's fortunes have changed drastically since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967.

In years past, lush agricultural fields and verdant hills surrounded the historic town centre, home to key Christian religious sites and stunning Ottoman architecture.

Today, multi-religious Bethlehem is suffocated by gun turrets and barbed wire, with Israel's eight-meter high segregation wall eclipsing verdant pastures and rolling hills.

Dozens of Israeli military checkpoints impede movement for the city's Palestinian residents, while Israeli settlements dominate the landscape.

The tourist-dependent economy has been crippled by Israeli restrictions, with Bethlehem's unemployment rate now the highest in the occupied West Bank.

Visualizing Palestine has mapped the effects on Bethlehem of Israel's 51-year occupation, documenting the dramatic decline of a once thriving Palestinian town.

[Visualizing Palestine]