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December 27, 2005

Times UK Headline: Today's Joseph and Mary would face 15 checkpoints

Again from Allah. No, the other one.

Today's Joseph and Mary would face 15 checkpoints

By Stephen Farrell

THE road from Nazareth to Bethlehem begins by dropping down from a ridge south of Galilee into the Jezreel Valley, looking out across Jordan and Samaria.
It is a 90-mile route defined by the journey of Mary and Joseph 2,000 years ago, although Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are unhelpful about the exact route, and the Bible does not mention the traditional nativity scene donkey.

Any direct route that foot passengers would have taken in the era of Caesar Augustus, retraced today, inevitably draws you into the tangled skein of modern Middle East politics, through Israel and the occupied West Bank, past Hamas strongholds and extremist Jewish settlements lying Islamic cheek by Zionist jowl.

But first you slam into a checkpoint. The first, that is, of 15 Israeli military roadblocks and mobile checkpoints that now control passage along the roads south from Nazareth.
...

This is a controversial stretch of tarmac — in effect an Israeli-only road in the heart of the occupied Palestinian Territories along which, local farmers and Israeli soldiers confirm, only Palestinian doctors and humanitarian vehicles can pass. However, a British newspaper has no problem. Just as Joseph and Mary, as Jews, would have been allowed to pass.

...

Inside Bethlehem, goodwill is hard to find. Since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000 Christmas celebrations have been dismal, Dr Victor Batarseh, the town’s mayor, says, pointing to a dwindling Christian population and the rising wall. “Now Bethlehem has become a big prison for its citizens. We are remembered one day a year. On Christmas Eve all the world speaks of Bethlehem but they give nothing to us. Nothing.”

Gee, I used to be a supporter of the Israeli security fence, but now that you've told me that Mary and Joseph would have had to show ID along their route, I've completely changed my position!

Related Times UK headline: Israeli Gunships Kill Hamas Leader, The Same As They Killed Jesus (Except With Hellfire Missiles)




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