Bethlehem, December 21, 2010–On Friday OneVoice Palestine (OVP) and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) kicked off its three day Christmas tree exhibition featuring stunningly decorated trees created by over 20 different local organizations.
OVP had two trees on display, both of which were themed after OneVoice’s Imagine 2018 campaign. OVP set up two Visitors were encouraged to write a vision or wish on a Christmas card and hang it onto one of the trees. The cards were later put on display at the Peace center in Bethlehem.
“Asking people to publicly write how they wish things to be is not something that I thought people would respond to easily, but they surprisingly did,” said Imagine 2018 Project Coordinator Antwan Saca, as he explained the spirit and urgency of the Imagine 2018 campaign to the exhibition’s guests. “Realizing that we have the right to imagine and resist peacefully is something that others fear to do, and here we are reminding them of their right and demanding them to take this responsibility.”
One of the wishes hanging from a tree read, “No Limits & No Borders,” a comment on the current status quo which has restricted movement through the occupied Palestinian territories. Mohammad Asideh, of the OVP Youth Advisory Council shared his vision of, “An independent Palestinian state,” and added that the comments on the tree were some of the most joyful and uplifting wishes that he had ever seen.
Palestinian policymakers on hand to lend their support to the movement. From left: Bethlehem Municipality Vice Mayor George Saadeh, Head of Fatah External Relations Dr. Nabil Shaath, and HCEF Program Manager Anthony Habash.
The event was the destination of various municipal and national leaders including Dr. Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian Minister of Tourism and the mayor and vice mayor of Bethlehem, as well as thousands of local families with children whose bright smiles made the event a success. The event also attracted many of the pilgrims who visit Bethlehem at this time of year. OVP greeted all the exhibition’s visitors with Christmas candies and a copy of an Imagine 2018 book.