Mohammad Eshtayya, member of the Central Committee of Fateh movement, headed by Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his government, must understand that the Palestinian lands are for the Palestinian people, and not for the illegal Israeli settlements. His statements came during a dinner held by the Fateh movement in Bethlehem at the Nissan Hall marking Christmas and the New Year. Several Fateh officials, mayors, social and political figures, security officials, and the governors of Bethlehem and Hebron attended.

Eshtayya added that “should Netanyahu fail to distinguish between Abu Ghneim and Tel Aviv, then we will not distinguish between Ramallah and Jaffa”, the Maan News Agency reported.

Abu Ghneim, dubbed by Israel as Har Homa, is a Palestinian mountain near Bethlehem that was illegally confiscated by Israel and its evergreens and lands were removed and the illegal Har Homa settlement was built in its place.

Eshtayya said that in 2012, there will be a huge political void, as the United Stated will be busy in its elections, while the European Union is already busy with its Euro crisis, and the Arab World is consumed in its revolutions, Netanyahu and his government are ongoing with their illegal policies to create facts on the ground by annexing Palestinian lands, constructing and expanding illegal settlements.

“They think that we will agree to return to the negotiations table, just for the sake of negotiations, this will not happen’, the Fateh official said, “They think that they can just take our lands, they think they can just grab Palestinians lands that extend from Abu Ghneim to Cremisan Monastery. We in the name of the people of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala, and all nearby villages, will all stand against the Israeli plans, and tell Israel that our lands are not for their settlements”.

Eshtayya further stated that the Central Committee of Fateh movement is closely observing the “vicious Israeli settlement activities in Bethlehem and Jerusalem”, and added that Israel recently confiscated lands that belong to the Cremisan Monastery, and expanded the illegal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) settlement.

“The illegal Annexation Wall blocked the path the Jesus took from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, the district of Bethlehem led the nonviolent resistance, and in the past, some of its families were forced out by the occupation”, he said, “the families of Bethlehem district led nonviolent resistance in Palestine, and we will all follow this lead until liberation and independence”.

He further stated that Bethlehem is the symbol of coexistence, and wished its Christians a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year before he ended his speech by siting Jesus and saying “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? ” (Mathew 5:13).

Eshtayya called on all Christians in Bethlehem to ask their relatives who immigrated to other countries to return to their lands, adding that “nobody deserves this land more than them”.

Two days ago, Bethlehem Mayor, Victor Batarsa, stated on a Press Conference that “this year, Bethlehem celebrates hope, peace and justice”.

The International Middle East Media Center, based in Bethlehem – Palestine, wishes you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year, Justice and Peace on Earth.