We are the people who have lived in this part of the world since time immemorial. We have been known by various names throughout the ages; we have spoken different languages, and we have come from diverse religious traditions. But the fact remains that we are the ones who, for millennia, have tilled the land and fed every occupier. Today, we speak Arabic, we are Muslims, Christians, and Jews, we call ourselves Palestinians, and we also call the land we live on, Palestine, the Holy Land. It is our prerogative.
As the cradle of the three monotheistic religions, Palestine boasts innumerable icons that attest to its sacredness. The Church of the Nativity is possibly the most significant among them, particularly to Christians. It is, after all, the place where Jesus Christ was born and where the message of love, peace, and justice originated – values that Palestinians still yearn for and struggle to achieve. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has not only become an integral part of Palestinian identity, it is also an international symbol that represents justice, peace, harmony, and yes, humility.
A heartfelt thank you to all those who took part in bringing back the splendor of this great monument. We Palestinians are proud to house the most important church in the world, and we pledge to protect it.
Sani P. Meo
This special issue of This Week in Palestine, themed The Treasures of the Nativity is published in cooperation with
the Presidential Committee for the Restoration of the Church of the Nativity.