What’s Wrong With This Picture?
This is Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity in the City of Bethlehem, Palestine.
It is one of the holiest sites in the Christian world as the reported birthplace of Jesus is in this grotto.
The church also holds significance to the Muslim world, as Jesus is considered one of Islam’s prophets.
So what’s wrong with these pictures?
They were taken ten years ago. Much has happened since then; for the past five years, Christmas in Bethlehem has been a fairly subdued event. This year the faithful returned.
In April and May of 2002, Israeli troops took over the town while some 200 Palestinians initially occupied the church. Israeli Defense Forces crossed the green line into the West Bank to root out “terrorists” after a series of suicide bomb attacks. After a 39-day standoff, 13 Palestinians were escorted out of the church with their weapons and transported to Cyprus. They were later dispersed to seven countries.
This region of the world has a tortured history, as long before the birth of Jesus, as since his promise of peace. About a third of the world’s population consider themselves Christians.
This is looking northeast from the Church of the Nativity, across the shepherds’ fields towards Jerusalem. The Israelis have now built a barrier that Palestinians call the apartheid wall, separating the West Bank.
As a result of the recent Annapolis meeting to restart the peace process, Bethlehem was opened to thousands last night.
A mere step in the contentious effort to find world peace; may many more steps follow….