Friday, December 23, 2011

The Guardian: "Mary and Joseph wouldn't make it into Bethlehem" (updated)

Every year we are treated to stories where reporters use Christmas as an excuse to bash Israel.

Here's one from The Guardian:

If Joseph and Mary were making their way to Bethlehem today, the Christmas story would be a little different, says Father Ibrahim Shomali, a parish priest in the town. The couple would struggle to get into the city, let alone find a hotel room.

"If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed," says the priest of Bethlehem's Beit Jala parish. "He would either have to be born at a checkpoint or at the separation wall. Mary and Joseph would have needed Israeli permission – or to have been tourists.

"This really is the big problem for Palestinians in Bethlehem: what will happen when they close us off completely?"
Al Arabiya reports that some 30,000 Christian pilgrims are expected to visit Bethlehem this weekend.

There is no problem for Palestinian Christians to visit. There is no problem for tourists to visit. 500 Gazans are even visiting. Is it really so strange that Israel must give permits for people to cross from or through Israel to PA-controlled areas? And are these permits really difficult to obtain?

CiFWatch has much more.

UPDATE: Commenter Ira_rosen says:

Indeed, The Guardian is correct. If Mary and Joseph tried to get to Bethlehem today, it would be difficult. They were Jewish.