Wounded by Apartheid Wall, Occupied Bethlehem Hopes for Pilgrimage Revival

(Agence France Presse)

Bethlehem has seen a surge in visits to Christ’s traditional birthplace, raising hopes of a tourism bonanza in the West Bank town despite Israel’s separation barrier.
Bethlehem eyes tourist boom after dark decade (via AFP)

After a decade of unrest, Bethlehem has seen a surge in visits to Christ’s traditional birthplace, raising hopes of a tourism bonanza in the West Bank town despite Israel’s separation barrier. The Palestinian territories’ top tourist destination is…

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5 Responses

  1. This seems an appropriate place to wish Professor Cole and all members of the “Informed Comment” Commentariat a very Merry Christmas. And for those who do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you experience some of the joy of the season.

    Cheers to all,

    Bill

  2. A Jewish state of Israel will oppress Christian as well as Muslim. That is the essence of a Religious state in Mideast that Christians in the West have yet to grasp. The Israel Apartheid wall is meant to strangle the economies and social fabric of Non Jewish towns. The aim is ethnic cleansing of indigenous Non Jewish populations .Security is just pretext.

    • Agreed.

      It should be noted that reform elements within Israel have also sustained harassment in the name of Israeli security.

      Daphni Leef, the leader of the J-14 social reform movement in Israel, who had two of her comrades elected to the Knesset last election, was interviewed and indicated she fears for her safety, claiming the Israeli government had dispatched 300 undercover agents to penetrate her group of supporters and were monitoring her personal telephone calls.

      Recent articles published in Israel have indicated that Israeli police had scoured her Facebook site attempting to discover evidence of criminal conduct. She was indicted on various charges from her arrest in Tel Aviv during a demonstration in which police broke her arm. This was after she had indicated the possibility she might run against Tel Aviv’s incumbent mayor.

      Much of the social inequality in Israel Ms. Leef complains of is due to a government that has gutted social programs to finance the occupation of the West Bank. She has criticized the government’s victimization of Arab Bedouin tribes in the Negev.

      The key to ending gridlock in Israel/Palestine relations will be the middle class in Israel which is finding itself the victims of its government’s policies. The national security structure in Israel has controlled its government and has oppressed its own people much the way Mubarak and his henchmen controlled Egypt – Ms. Leef labeled the Arab Spring demonstrations in Egypt “an amazing thing”.

  3. The Evangelical Zionists in the US seems unaware that Israel has not only marginalized Muslim Arabs, but trying to marginalize Christians too. They have shrunk Nazareth the birth place of Jesus, protected those who attacked Churches, and even the Vatican have blamed them for such attacks.
    The adoration of Israel however by misguided American Christians, goes on.

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