Beit Sahour (بيت ساحور pronounced ) is a Palestinian town administered by the Palestinian Authority, situated to the east of Bethlehem. The population of 15,400 is 80% Christian and 20% Muslim. The town is reputed to be close to the place where, according to the Bible, the angel announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds.
There are two enclosures in the eastern part of Beit Sahour which are claimed by different Christian denominations to be the actual 'Shepherds Field': one belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church and the other, the Catholic site, to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The origins of the name Beit Sahour (the house of shepherds) reputedly stems from the Canaanite family language words "Beit" meaning place, and "Sahour" meaning night watch, which reflected the importance of the area for shepherds.
During the First intifada and the second Intifada, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between Peoples based in Beit Sahour encouraged non-violent activism under the aegis of the International Solidarity Movement. During the first Intifada the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between Peoples issued an invitation to Israelis of goodwill to come and spend a weekend (Shabbat) in Palestinian homes using the slogan “Break Bread, Not Bones”. The Alternative information centre is also partly based in the town, as is the Alternative Tourism Group, a non-governmental organisation specializing in tours of Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Israeli defense minister Yitzhak Rabin responded: “We will teach them there is a price for refusing the laws of Israel.” The Israeli military authorities placed the town under curfew for 42 days, blocked food shipments into the town, cut telephone lines to the town, tried to bar reporters from the town, imprisoned forty residents, and seized in house-to-house raids millions of dollars in money and property belonging to 350 families. The Israeli military stopped the consuls-general of Belgium, Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden when they attempted to go to Beit Sahour and investigate the conditions there during the tax strike.
Israel’s military occupation had the authority to create and enforce taxes beyond the baseline Jordanian code enacted in 1963 in areas formerly administered by that country, including Beit Sahour. During the Intifada, they used that authority to impose taxes on Palestinians as collective punishment measures to discourage the Intifada, for instance “the glass tax (for broken windows), the stones tax (for damage done by stones), the missile tax (for Gulf War damage), and a general intifada tax, among others.”
The United Nations Security Council considered a resolution demanding that Israel return the property it confiscated during the Beit Sahour tax resistance. The United States vetoed the resolution, which was supported by the eleven council members.
Fashion show in Christian Beit Sahour outrages Muslims. Senior Hamas figure in West Bank calls event 'immoral,' denounces PA for sponsorship and attendance
Jun 24, 2010; KHALED ABU TOAMEH KHALED ABU TOAMEH Jerusalem Post 06-24-2010 Fashion show in Christian Beit Sahour outrages Muslims. Senior...