Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bethlehem is a prison for its citizens
A message from Bethlehem Mayor, Victor Bartarseh.
On a recent visit to Bethlehem, Palestine I interviewed Mayor Victor Bartarseh to get a perspective on what life is like for the citizens of this West Bank city

Bethlehem has the highest rate of unemployment in the West Bank. The city is entirely surrounded by the separation wall. The city receives less than 5% profit from tourism due to Israel's control over tours thus keeping money generated from hotels, restaurants, souvenirs and the like in Israel.

Since the mid 1990's. Burlington, Vermont and Bethlehem, Palestine have shared a sister relationship.

The Mayor speaks candidly about the physical and psychological affects of living with the wall. He is hopeful that we can break down psychological barriers with cultural exchanges between the two cities.