'Tis the season of Nativity scenes. But here's a question to consider: would Joseph and Mary even have been able to reach Bethlehem if they were making that same journey today? hatever your view of Jesus or Muhammad, if you are a Palestinian resident of the West Bank you are a victim of the longest military occupation in the world.
The depravity of the west is becoming too obvious. We have lost our sense of knowing what is right and wrong. The foreign policy became dominated by the idea of not offending any feelings and being bought into the culture of relativism. Cuba and Palestine are just the recent examples of how easily the west can be forced into the obedience.
Living in England is not a privilege. Here, everything seems to be taken for granted. Few could imagine how it feels to be prohibited from going back home. Or have the feeling of not being able to try calming your traumatised siblings down after they had to run over corpses of neighbours and friends.
Earlier this year, Gaza endured a horrific military assault targeted at Palestinian civilians, many of whom are Durham University current and former students. As a result of continuous shelling, the death toll exceeded 2200, with thousands more Palestinians being heavily injured and struggling to restore their lives in the besieged and occupied homeland...
Out of the 300 million odd people living in the region, I understand my small sample of friends cannot be taken as a final representation of the Middle East. Nor do I want to gloss over the fact that thousands have been killed and millions have been made homeless. This we cannot forget and maybe, quite rightly, the media aren't letting us.
The twisted wreckage of an ambulance is displayed at Al Shifa Hospital - the largest hospital in Gaza - by way of memorial to three paramedics who died in the recent conflict. At Al Aqsa Hospital there are gaping holes in the outside walls where paramedics tell me the building was hit. Several ambulances still operating have bullet holes in the windscreens.
Nisreen and her 13-year-old twin sons evacuated their house in Abasan, Gaza, during the recent 50-day conflict with Israel - and returned to rubble. "We found our house had been bombed and bulldozed. We couldn't even see where it used to be. My sons were so shocked, so sad," says Nisreen. "We lost everything."
Encouraging the Palestinians to accede to the ICC, which they have been eligible to do since attaining Observer State status at the UN in 2012, would introduce an accountability mechanism that would deter future violence. It would also provide an incentive for each side to stay at the negotiating table.
Yesterday, British MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of recognising Palestine as a state. This followed the earlier declaration by Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven that Sweden would do the same. These gestures demonstrated that international attention would not easily be diverted from the tragic events of Israel's 50-day war on Gaza - not even by the terrible threat to civilization that is ISIS.
By affirming without ambiguity that both Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights to statehood, international recognition of the State of Palestine can help break this impasse. That is why another amendment tabled by Jack Straw and other senior MPs makes clear that by voting for recognition today MPs will contribute to securing a negotiated two state solution.
It is significant that the Labour leadership backs the motion in Parliament on Monday. Hopefully many Conservative politicians will join them so that the motion is passed with the handsome majority that such a mild measure requires. If the British Parliament votes in favour it would be highly important symbolically, a strong expression of Parliamentary support for recognition...