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Dec-25-2009 03:30printcomments

The Day Combat Ops Cleared the Birthplace of Jesus

Ever see photos of the place where Jesus was born, crowd free?

Birthplace of Jesus photos by Dexter Phoenix. To purchase photos from his worldwide photo collection, write to Dexter at

(BETHLEHEM / SALEM) - The Church of the Nativity; birthplace of Jesus, is a place you can visit, did you know that?

Dexter Phoenix, our news photographer from London based with our team here in Salem, had the most amazing opportunity to visit the place where our modern Western culture truly begins.

Ironically, Dexter's visit to this most special birthplace of one of history's greatest peace leaders, came at a time when guns were firing and missiles were flying, and most of the people who live in and visit this place, wisely... were nowhere to be seen.

But Dexter ventured out as the Israeli military was busy pounding Hezbollah fighters nearby, in this deadly, hotly contested ancient Biblical land.

These photos taken during the heavy fighting in 2006 represent just a small look at the vivid and memorable collection of images Dexter has shot in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and many other places.

With no crowds and no sounds except for the Christian monk lighting candles in the spot where Jesus is specifically said to have been born, Dexter was in photographer's Heaven, a place most war photographers only end up seeing from a vastly different perspective.

There is a certain breathtaking quality to the photographs of this highly sacred place. Regardless of the religion you are talking about, the essentials of this story, that Jesus Christ lived and died two thousand years ago, is fairly undisputed. Exactly who and what he was, here on earth, is a matter less easily agreed upon. Muslims recognize Christ as a prophet.

It is widely accepted that while the buildings have risen around it, this spot, below ground level, is the manger where Christ was born.

The Bible states:

Map showing Bethlehem, courtesy:

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. —Luke 2:4-7"

Bethlehem is located in the central West Bank, approximately 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem's population is about 30,000.

This ancient city has been attacked, occupied, destroyed and rebuilt, again and again in the course of history. Today it is the capital of the Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority, and considered to be a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism, especially around Christmas, when many Christian pilgrims head for the Church of the Nativity.

Most Christians believe that Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. It is small according to Wikipedia, and members of this community continue to move away in increasing numbers.

Jesus taught people to live without hate and war, and if slapped, to turn the other cheek. Jesus did not seek retribution, nor was he possessive. In today's world, Jesus would be branded by the right wing talk show hosts as a "raving liberal" and scorned.

Israel's Military State

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. —Luke 2:4-7

Dexter's experience in Bethlehem, and what he saw outside of the Church that day, is nothing unusual in Palestine or Israel. Heavily supported by the U.S. taxpayers' hard earned contributions, God's Chosen People as they refer to themselves, use their military might on a semi-regular basis to kill their neighbors in sometimes alarming numbers, in ways that I don't think God would hand select anybody for.

The most recent serious incident happened exactly one year ago, during Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead', which has come to be known today as the Massacre of Gaza, and the Gaza Holocaust.

During this siege, between 1400 and 1500 Gaza residents, including several hundred children, were killed during a ferocious attack that many world leaders say involved a multitude of war crimes.

The U.N.'s GoldStone Report confirmed the war crime charges from a very unbiased source. Richard Goldstone is Jewish, and known for his work in resolving world conflict.

His report that cast a shadow on Israel's slaughter of over 1400 Gazans at a cost of 14 Israeli's, several among that number killed by friendly fire, was fought tooth and nail by the Jewish lobby and by the U.S. government itself.

Americans all need to open their minds on Christmas day, to the slaughter taking place in the Middle East in the name of religion.

Entitlement Issues

God did not instruct people to always take away from others, so how can he approve of Israel's death machine that deals out retribution on a 100 to 1 level, and it is only that low if you include Israel's friendly fire casualties?

Israeli's continue to colonialize the last remaining land that belongs to the Palestinians, they do it willfully and forcefully and they do it because they believe that their people and only their people have a right to that land. If you aren't Jewish, you are out of luck in Israel, and your rights are limited.

If you are an American, this might seem like a really negative concept.

If I heard that a Jewish person was being denied a right or mistreated in a racist manner, I would run to their aid, I would do it for anybody. If Jews or Muslims were not allowed the same actual rights as Christians, I would fight for them.

Yet these are the things the Israeli's do in this modern world society that we all share.

The Apartheid comparisons are dead on target; the Palestinians deserve to live in peace, and as human beings on the face of this earth they are just as important as the Israelis.

It is always important to note that Israel's desire to take all Palestinian land is known as the Zionist movement, and by no means does the term describe every Jewish person. is quickly becoming more familiar to and with these groups and we will continue to cover this topic as a matter of priority, with hope that education can lead to peace.

This is Bethlehem, and the actual place where Jesus Christ is said to have been born.

They are part of the ancient Christian population that still inhabits this place.

Consider the purpose of people on this earth; nobody has a right to indiscriminately kill others over an entitlement problem based on a Biblical prophesy, which is precisely what Israel does.

As Americans we should be strongly against it, regardless of our personal faith.



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Alan Sabrosky December 27, 2009 3:01 pm (Pacific time)

What is truly frightening and disgusting (at least to me) is that Michael's diatribe would pass for normal day-to-day conversation among Jewish settlers and most of the Orthodox Jews in Israel. As when the Chief Rabbi of the IDF stated publicly that "any Israeli soldier who showed mercy to an enemy was damned." Probably the same guy who told Alberto Gonzalez that the Geneva Convention was a quaint document. Everyone should read Michael again: he is NOT the face of all Jews (my Jewish cousins would hurt him for embarrassing them), but he sure is the face of most Zionists.

Natalie December 26, 2009 2:24 pm (Pacific time)

Neah...Viagra is a result of men being put down, and made fun of after the first failure (for whatever reason that occured) by their women. Instead of helping to relax and gain control, we tend to joke about this issue. Since this feature is the ultimate proof for the man, that he's a real man, fear of another failure haunts his mind, and he's ready to take any pill to prevent that from happening again.

Sue for PEACE! December 26, 2009 7:37 am (Pacific time)

The question is "how much money is being made or paid by all those who are profiting off of war" and that could never be presented to the people of PEACE in Palestine. I love the presentation of the story and the look at Bethlehem today. I think it is time for the West, we Americans and ALL true Christians to take a look at what we are supporting. WE must keep our tax money and never send it for the support of APARTIED. This is the Holyland and the very people who have kept it free to all to worship are being persecuted and NOT allowed access to worship there themselves! All people should go and see firsthand how life is in the HOLY LAND. They would be appalled and ashamed if they have any heart at all. Being there in April myself, It was impossible to understand why the world has NO clue what is happening there. This article and many more are needed! They are needed to show who the real racist and terrorist are. Just from the comments get a clear idea. I commend the photographer, writer and the news agency for making this article happen. Kudos to King, Phoenix and 'Salem News' for a timely, well written article. Please keep up the good work. I would stop with the positive words, tho, no need to call out how bad "some" people are. The world is watching and they will be able to tell if we just continue to present them with the facts and not confuse them with all the craZies!

Natalie December 26, 2009 2:12 am (Pacific time)

I don't get something. If you give birth to a boy at any US hospital, the very first question will be, if you want to circumcise the newborn. So, are you saying, that our doctors sadistically chew off all those boys' penises? Somehow, I can't picture that. I feel good now for not doing that to my boy. LOL. As far as I know, that is supposed to be a surgical removal of foreskin nowadays as well as during Moses' days. So, my inquiring mind wonders, if there's another kind of circumcision, that I'm not aware of.

Tim King: Natalie, don't feel bad about being confused on this one.  I went many years without even considering whether or not circumcision was the right thing to do to a baby boy.  Our friend Sigmund in Paris has written several stories about this and we now know far more about this practice than we used to.  The bottom line is that this practice puts an infant through indescribable pain and agony, how could it not?  The notion that it "doesn't bother them that much" is pure wive's tale and the honest truth, is that Western societies never even did this until the mid 1800's, when a British writer suggested that circumcised boys were less likely to masturbate.  That is what this all comes down to.  My understanding is that one third of the feeling disappears when the doctors mutilate these children.  As a society, we are just a couple of steps ahead of African tribes that still mutilate the sex organs of girls after they reach puberty.   A recent court decision actually allows the rabbi's to continue to use their teeth when completing this barbaric mutation on their young.  My understanding is that sexual frustration, Viagra, all of that... is a result of the mutilated American penis. 

Dexter December 26, 2009 1:44 am (Pacific time)

I totally agree with your comments Josh. :)

Josh A, December 26, 2009 12:00 am (Pacific time)

WOW Michael. Thank GOD I know a few Jewish people so I can say for sure you are nothing like them... This guy is going to turn people racist. What a total nut-job... over 100 to 1 Israeli to Palestinian kill ratio and this person is talking about wiping people off the face of the earth and yet THEY'RE the terrorist 'bandits in bedsheets'... I'm pretty sure MY Jewish friends would kick you in the bean bag for saying garbage like that and making people associate YOU with good people like THEM. Your nothing like the Jewish people I've been friends with... can you believe this nut? I'm shocked.

Daniel December 25, 2009 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

Great photos Dexter , but the video pans more too fast to really enjoy them , thanks . Happy holidays to all at the Salem news !

Editor: Daniel, I thought I had figured out how to slow it down last night, but to no avail in the end.  We will work on it, we appreciate the comment.  It is possible to pause it and go from frame to frame, thanks!

Michael December 25, 2009 1:33 pm (Pacific time)

How Much Money are the Arab Palestinian Terrorists paying You for this.These Two Clowns do NOT know anything abouit the Middle East, Judaism, nor the Jewish People. We ALL support Israel. Let those who attempted to destroy the Jewish People, including Hezbollah in Lebanon amd Hamas in GAZA disappear completely from this Earth. Your so called "story" is a Propaganda Piece for these Bandits in Bedsheets who were brought to the Land of Israel by The British to cover FAVOR WITH THE ARAB KINGS TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE OIL ESPECIALLY TO THE TIME BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER wORLD WAR TWO.

Tim King: Wow, it is ironic that your brain would leap to the "how much are you being paid"? line.  You see, for the Palestinians it is all about living, for the Zionists it is about some twisted and screwed up view of racism in full swing, with a profit.  You make millions sick.  You are not so special, you do not have "special rights" and you were not in the Holocaust, you did not suffer the fate of the victims of the Third Reich, but you run your course as far as you can because, possibly, you are descended from them.  Well I've got some news for you pal, the victims of the Holocaust, as tragic as their plight was, died just like all of the thousands of American and British soldiers and Marines and sailors and airmen, who died fighting the enemy that oppressed your group. 

Clowns?  Take a look in the mirror, and stop blindly supporting murder and racism and colonialism, and oppression, and the abuse of children, and the harvesting of organs of Palestinians that Israel murders, and the sniper murderers from the IDF who hide in their towers like pansies in Gaza, plucking away shots at the Palestinian people who try to walk by unmolested.  Here's one I just learned last week; Israel only will extradite child sex offender pedophiles back to the U.S. if they raped or molested little girls.  If they did it to little boys, Israel refuses to extradite.  How about the evil cruel child abuse known as circimcision?  What about Moses and his call against that barbaric practice?  What about the rabbi's who bite the ends of a baby's penis off as part of their strange rituals?  (Don't believe that last one?  It is true, I will be happy to expand if I need to, links and all.  Bring it on, as they say.)  Murder has no place in this world, and Israel needs a major overhaul in their political policy if peace is ever going to reign.

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