About Open Bethlehem

A film, a campaign, a journey  
OPEN BETHLEHEM is a campaign that works to promote global engagement with Bethlehem boosting international interest and awareness through film and campaigning and by promoting visits to Bethlehem.  The campaign also works to develop a network of passionate ambassadors for the city through the Bethlehem Passport Program.

OPEN BETHLEHEM"s vision is to support a lasting peace settlement between Palestine and Israel using Bethlehem as a doorway for global engagement. As an iconic city, and a Palestinian city, Bethlehem has both power and responsibility to act and use its global outreach to promote positive change.

Selected "Film of the Week" by The Guardian

"A ninety-minute epic that transcends politics and normal cinema"

Daoud Kuttab - Middle East Monitor

"Undeniably Potent and Poignant"
Radio Times

Time Out London

The Film

The Campaign



Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her hometown.  An international campaign to address the situation in Bethlehem and Palestine.  Watch the film,
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The story of the film 

Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. She left the city as a teenager thinking that Bethlehem was too small and provincial. She never wanted to return but this time she is making an exception. She intends her film to be a tribute to her late father, founder of Bethlehem University, and a man regarded as a hero by his town’s folk. As Bethlehem approaches ruin her decision to flee this sleepy town, taken much to her father’s regret, comes to haunt her. Find out more


The UK premier of Open Bethlehem at the Royal Geographical Society   




Open Bethlehem CEO signs letter to the Times calling for Palestinian recognition by the UK

Times Oslo letter

Leila Sansour was a key signatory to a letter the Times, London, on 13 September 2018, calling for the British Government to: 

  • recognise now the state of Palestine alongside Israel on pre-June 1967 lines
  • uphold international law in deed, including the 4th Geneva Convention Britain drafted and ratified after WW II
  • give practical effect to UN Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning illegal Israeli settlements, and champion the Arab Peace Initiative, offering regional normality to Israel in return for Palestinian freedom.

You can read the letter here


18 reasons why to support recognition

Countries that have recognised Palestine map

There is an opportunity for the UK to recognise Palestine as a state alongside the state of Israel, recognised by the British Government 68 years ago.

Recognition is an attainable goal, entirely within the sovereign powers of our Government, independent of other states’ decisions, costing no money, and promised many times in the past.
A decision by our Government to recognise Palestine alongside Israel will not make an immediate difference to the daily lives of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza - only Israel can do that - but it is equitable and just. It will remove a major obstacle on the road to peace and stability in the Holy Land. The status quo is inherently unjust, and thus unstable.

Recognising Palestine as a state, legally on the same footing as Israel will be a European game-changer. Where Britain leads, others will follow.

Read our briefing 

Thank you for supporting our USA tour

USA film audience The Open Bethlehem tour of the USA 2017 has now finished. If you've been inspired and would like to screen Open Bethlehem please get in touch. If you are based in the USA, Canada or the rest of the world please contact our film distributor 
Bullfrogfilms. If you are based in UK contact 
Screenings@OpenBethlehem.org. You can also join our mailing list. 
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