Report from Bethlehem: Obama exploits the messenger of peace for a photo-op

Obama in the birthplace of Jesus
Obama in the birthplace of Jesus (White House photo by Pete Souza)

US President Obama’s hurried appearances in two West Bank towns provided the desired imagery for his ‘listening’ trip to the Middle East. In both Ramallah and Bethlehem, he was well-insulated from the Palestinians themselves.

Obama’s helicopter landing at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah was challenged by peaceful, energetic protesters, kept several blocks away by three rows of progressively formidable police and soldiers. His arrival in Bethlehem was, in contrast, like a surreal wake following some natural calamity or apocalypse.

At 11:00 AM, an hour before his scheduled arrival at the Church of the Nativity, my partner and I left our quarters by Rachel’s Tomb. Less than a month earlier, the IDF shot dead a sixteen year old boy and wounded many others in their suppression of demonstrations here against Israel’s torture-death of a Palestinian prisoner who it accused of throwing a stone at an illegal settler.

The main street stretching from the nearby checkpoint to the center of Bethlehem was deserted save for regularly placed rifle-wielding soldiers. A pinkish pall hung over the town caused by a fierce, sand-powered wind that fought noisily against our progress, all this the doing of the Khamsin, the dry, dusty windstorms that occasionally plague the region. Politics and heavens had conspired to turn normally bustling Bethlehem into a surreal ghost town.

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The apartheid wall by Rachel’s Tomb. Note the windows opened at the tower’s top.  (T Suarez)

The scene became yet more unreal when we passed the principal Israeli watchtower in the area. Up from the base of the tower, blackened and chipped from the recent flare-ups, we saw the tower’s thick windows, which are angled to allow the IDF to watch the streets, open. We had never before seen the tower open, but now the IDF soldiers were chatting with the PA soldiers below.

Reaching the heart of the old town, Manger Square was barricaded. The crowd was tightly corralled on the side of the Square furthest from Obama’s appearance at the Church of the Nativity, in front of the Mosque of Omar. As time passed with no sign of the president, it became clear that his plans were now being dictated by the Khamsin, which made helicopter travel dangerous. Facetiously for some, and seriously for others, this was divine intervention: the Almighty was none too pleased at Obama exploiting the Messenger of Peace for a false and exploitative photo-op. Meanwhile, the Israelis were blocking off a route through Jerusalem for his entourage to make the short trip by land.

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Presidential entourage arrives at the Church of the Nativity  (T Suarez)

As we waited, the helmeted police began to kettle and shove the peaceful crowd against the wall and ultimately into narrow St Paul VI Street. We were struck by the odd behavior of a few otherwise innocuous-looking individuals, and realized that they were plain-clothed police or informers; for example, one middle-aged woman (? we suspected it was a man) with corduroy jacket, head scarf, and large dark glasses could be observed alternately mingling with the crowds and then huddling with security officials.

Soon a parade of black vehicles arrived in the distant parking lot adjoining the Church. Inside the Church, safely out of sight, cameras clicked as the US president shook hands with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophills III.

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Obama’s fleet exits through the locked-down streets of Bethlehem.  (T Suarez)

We slipped back down to the dead, shuttered main street, where soldiers, knowing that the presidential exodus was near, reacted nervously to our presence and repeatedly warned us not to take any photographs. When the motorcade blared past with lights flashing, I managed a surreptitious shot. Minutes later, black cars with various lesser-deities passed, and once the last was gone Bethlehem’s doors and shutters opened. Life returned to the town of Christ’s birth.

The general feeling in the street was, as one would expect, outrage that the man principally responsible for empowering Israeli aggression had the audacity to make a self-serving visit to Palestine. Obama’s visit was spun by Israeli and US media, and indeed in veiled language by the White House itself, as the president standing in solidarity with the region’s persecuted Christian minority, a twist that is nothing short of Orwellian: the Palestine’s Christians are suppressed and ethnically cleansed by Israel, not by their fellow Arabs.[1] Indeed, Israel ethnically cleansed Christian villages to built some of the settlements that now ring the once-beautiful Bethlehem countryside.

As for the seemingly warm reception of religious figures, it should be pointed out that the same Patriarch Theophills III who met Obama was the first signatory to the 2009 Kairos Palestine document.[2] This paper

“…requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel … to stand against injustice and apartheid … we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples. [This document] demands that all peoples, political leaders and decision-makers put pressure on Israel and take legal measures in order to oblige its government to put an end to its oppression and disregard for the international law.”

The mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun, was more forthright. She handed the president a letter telling him that “Bethlehem isn’t living in peace despite the fact that the city was a source of peace to the whole world,” and noted how the weather conditions had forced Obama to drive by the separation wall and see the conditions under which Palestinians are forced to live.[3]

But ignorance of the truth about Palestine has never been Obama’s problem. Rather, his visit proved once again that the role of the United States was based on concerns unrelated to right or wrong, in defiance of international law, contemptuous of history and, in the ultimate irony, against the interests of the United States itself.

Notes

1. For example, Obama visit to stress plight of Mideast Christians, The Times of Israel, March 15, 2013

2. A moment of truth. Kairos Palestine 2009.

3. Mayor of Bethlehem gave letter to Obama, Ma’an News Agency, March 23, 2013

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, On the ground reports, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged

{ 58 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. flyod says:

    thanks for the first hand report. i read somewhere that due to the storm o’s visit was cut to 14 minutes!? not that he planned much time to begin with …..

    ….and obama gets it?

    • kalithea says:

      “…and obama gets it?”

      Yeah, go figure; it’s beyond a head-scratcher.

    • W.Jones says:

      The storm of his bosses’ disapproval? I once went to a protest and left quickly, because I was afraid my bosses would see me. Looking back, I wish I had stayed!!!

      Obama’s one-two pop-in visit to people did something similar, in that for people that don’t exist, even existing is protesting.

      Thank you for being here for the whole “protest”, MW and its commentators.

  2. Great photo of the Separation Wall at Rachel’s Tomb! Should be on front page of New York Times.

    • seafoid says:

      The photo of the motorcade is very good too. Especially with the “no u turn” signs on the RHS. Those have been put in place by AIPAC and the road leads to a cliff,I imagine .

    • Theo says:

      Yes, please keep dreaming, even if that day ever arrives it must be in the far future.
      I did not expect anything from Obama and it turned out to be the correct feeling.
      Our president will spend another almost four years in the WH and his legacy will be limited to being the first black person to hold the highest office we have.
      Nothing else.

  3. American says:

    ”But ignorance of the truth about Palestine has never been Obama’s problem. Rather, his visit proved once again that the role of the United States was based on concerns unrelated to right or wrong, in defiance of international law, contemptuous of history and, in the ultimate irony, against the interests of the United States itself.”>>>>

    Well that’s it in a nutshell isn’t it.
    BWTTGASO

    • Blank State says:

      “BWTTGASO”

      Egads, haven’t seen that one for awhile, Carroll. How ’bout we just BWTTG and pass on the ASO until genetics rids us of our differences?

  4. Citizen says:

    History does not dispute that Pilate’s core job was to work with the Jews in the Roman backwater of Judea so as to keep tax funds flowing to Rome. Does Obama think his main job regarding anything Israel, the only agenda that always unites Democrats and GOP thanks to the American political campaign funding system, is to keep Jewish votes and big cash in Democratic Party coffers, rather than the GOP’s?

    • Joe Ed says:

      Big Jewish money controls the GOP these days just as it controls the Dems.

      Jewish votes are pretty unimportant. There are 30 plus million Americans who self identify as Irish vs. 6-7 million Jews yet we hear not a word about the Irish vote. There are many more German Americans — yet never a word

      • RoHa says:

        “30 plus million Americans who self identify as Irish”

        Which is utterly crazy, since most of them were born and brought up in the USA, only have US citizenship, and have never even been near Ireland.

        • dbroncos says:

          RoHa-
          “Which is utterly crazy, since most of them were born and brought up in the USA, only have US citizenship…”

          I was in Ireland 13 years ago and an Irish woman made this exact point in lamenting all the occasions in which American tourist strangers were eager to impress her that they were “Irish” as well. After she finished her speech I made a point of needling her, I said, “Well, you know, my people are Irish.”
          She smiled curtly and said, “Yeah, me too.” Identity politics can be wierd and funny.

        • Djinn says:

          There’s an odd thing with expat communities, and it seems to get stronger the more generations removed. The first time I ever saw people wearing kilts to formal events (other than weddings) was when I moved from Scotland to Australia. The ‘Scots’ here, many of whom have never set foot in the land of the permacloud, were far more overtly Scottish than anyone in family has ever been. Obsessed with “clan tartans” and bagpipes.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Joe Ed
          Yeah, barring a few spots, it’s much more about big Zionist donor dollars than Jewish vote. Even in Truman’s time, although he was very aware of the NY Jewish vote and Jewish political pundits in the main news media, his core reason for unilaterally recognizing Israel was the direct Zionist threat to back Dewey with Zionist dollars if he, Truman, did not give in to Zionist demands–don’t forget they actually pounded on his door and banged his desk top so he burned a huge pile of Jewish letters without reading them and said he wouldn’t see the Jews at the WH anymore–he caved in due to his long time personal relation with his old Jewish business partner.

          @ RoHa

          Many Irish simply know their family tree, and many are aware of the history of discrimination against the Irish and against Roman Catholics. Americans who trace their family history back to Germany are the biggest ethnic group in the USA–those who trace their family back to Ireland form the second biggest ethnic group.

        • Joe Ed says:

          Actually, pretty much all of the 30 plus million Americans who do identify themselves as Irish Americans actually do have roots in Ireland. Unlike American Jews who have never had ancestors from Israel.

          Yet we don’t see dozens of Irish Organization pushing “Irish” agendas, pressuring the US govt for annual multi billion aid packages to buy weapons, requiring Pols to swear loyaly to our greatest ally, the Irish and democratic nation of Ireland

        • RoHa says:

          “Many Irish simply know their family tree, and many are aware of the history of discrimination against the Irish and against Roman Catholics.”
          “Actually, pretty much all of the 30 plus million Americans who do identify themselves as Irish Americans actually do have roots in Ireland.”

          Roots? Do you mean ancestors? So what? Most Western Europeans have ancestors from the Caucasus area, and all human beings seem to have ancestors from Africa*.

          We are not our ancestors. They are Americans, not Irish.

          (*My belief that they were from the Kenya/Ethiopia area seems out of date. Thanks, Eur1069, for bringing the Namibia/Angola theory to my attention.)

        • RoHa says:

          “Yet we don’t see dozens of Irish Organization pushing “Irish” agendas, pressuring the US govt for annual multi billion aid packages to buy weapons, requiring Pols to swear loyaly to our greatest ally, the Irish and democratic nation of Ireland”

          Though we did see Irishmen in America conning Americans into providing financial support for the IRA.

        • seafoid says:

          IRA songs can be very popular in parts of Boston. My mother has a second cousin from Salem who came over once to the ould sod and when we were talking asked if we knew the words to “the ballad of Joe McDonnell”. I hadn’t a clue who he was.

          Apparently one of the 1981 Hunger Strikers.

          The search for identity in multiculti USA is always interesting.

          The longer time goes on the weaker will be the link between the US Diaspora and Israel. That is the way of the world.

  5. kalithea says:

    When the Patriarch requested that Obama do more for bringing peace to this area he should have added: and see what you can do about those Zionists who spit on our clergy and scrawl hateful heresy against Jesus on the doors of our churches.

    But Obama, who is the ultimate hypocrite just went there to cleanse his darkened soul because in fact he is responsible for much of the suffering that goes on there as he has contributed more funding for the Zionist tools of oppression than any previous President.

    Yes, it’s ironic and perhaps a divine act that he was forced to access Bethlehem by land and ride past the Wall of Shame and Apartheid and get a glimpse of Palestinian suffering and heartache while he sat and waited and perhaps wolfed down some snacks and spring water to relieve the boredom and thirst. I doubt he sat there and had nothing to pass the time unlike Palestinians who wait hours in the scorching sun with no relief in sight.

    The Patriarch should pray that justice comes for the Palestinians and let God “take care” of those who brought so much suffering on these oppressed people, harassed Christians and clergy in Bethlehem and Jerusalem and “take care” of those who indulged this tragedy and humiliation.

    Karma is divine punishment.

  6. Taxi says:

    “We were struck by the odd behavior of a few otherwise innocuous-looking individuals, and realized that they were plain-clothed police or informers; for example, one middle-aged woman (? we suspected it was a man) with corduroy jacket, head scarf, and large dark glasses could be observed alternately mingling with the crowds and then huddling with security officials.”

    Did he walk bow-legged in high heels and wear a 5′oclock shadow too? Hahahaha – sorry couldn’t resist the goof!

    But seriously, thank you earnestly, Tom, for a vivid, informative and nuanced article – enjoyable too. Even though I have no faith or respect for Obama, your article helped me see him as a conflicted man – a silent battle between the sage and the politician inside of him. He speaks often like a sage but often acts like a politician – he’s a man at home with the language of hope as well as the language of drones. A Carter-Clinton hybrid?

    (I look forward to reading about this trip again in Obama’s memoir in 2017).

    I must also give massive respect and thanks to the mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun.

    And last but not least, thank you “Khamis” winds!

  7. RE: “Obama’s helicopter landing at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah was challenged by peaceful, energetic protesters, kept several blocks away by three rows of progressively formidable police and soldiers.” ~ Tom Suarez

    MY COMMENT: These “formidable police and soldiers” of the Palestinian Authority are considered by some Palestinians to be collaborators with the Israel in its occupation.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA ["United States security assistance to the Palestinian National Authority"]

    . . . When the Israeli Air Force began their bombing campaign of Gaza in late December 2008, the NSF [the Palestinian National Security Forces] 3rd Special Battalion was disbursed throughout the West Bank to assist other PA security forces in maintaining order and preventing demonstrations from becoming uncontrollable. The USSC, Israel, and the PA regarded the results of this deployment to be successful because West Bank violence did not escalate during the month-long Israeli offensive.[64] Lt. Gen. Dayton suggested in his 2009 policy speech that the PA response during Operation Cast Lead prevented a third intifada by using “a measured and disciplined approach to the popular unrest” and by keeping demonstrators away from Israelis. In his words “the prospect of order trumped the prospect of chaos.”[57] Journalist Nathan Thrall characterized the same event as the most damaging to the Palestinian security forces’ reputation, as the harsh reaction to protests and to Hamas sympathizers made the PASF seem like collaborators with the Israeli operation. . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

  8. giladg says:

    Once all residents of Bethlehem called themselves Jews.
    At that time there was no such a thing a “Palestinian”. Islam itself had yet to be introduced to the world.

    • K Renner says:

      And therefore “Israel” is justified in everything it does and the Palestinians are all evil, right?
      Idiot.

      • giladg says:

        No K Renner, just the bad ones are evil, and there are a lot of those around. And remember, history is usually determined by the radical few, the less than 10%’ers. If the so called moderate Palestinians are not prepared to take on the radicals in there own societies and present a different voice both openly and publically, then it appears that they agree with the radicals and must take responsibility for their own inaction.

        • remember, history is usually determined by the radical few

          how leo strass of you. so, you think the jewish zionista terrorists (aka ‘setters’) will determine the future?

        • talknic says:

          giladg “If the so called moderate Palestinians are not prepared to take on the radicals in there own societies and present a different voice both openly and publically, then it appears that they agree with the radicals and must take responsibility for their own inaction”

          Same applies to Israelis and 64 years of Israeli Governments being in breach of the law, Israel’s illegal settlers … no?

        • Joe Ed says:

          The bad ones hold court in Tel Aviv and Washington DC

        • mcohen says:

          annie

          “how leo strass of you. so, you think the jewish zionista terrorists (aka ‘setters’) will determine the future?”

          the hilltops are strategic bases so it is the future that will determine the settlers destiny not the other way around

    • MK_Ultra says:

      Really? When exactly was that? Before or after the ISrealites were invented? Or are you talking about Bethlehem, PA?

    • Sumud says:

      Once upon a time (not so long before that) there was no such thing as a jew. Your point is…?

      Note carefully: I do not place the word jew in quote marks.

    • Marco says:

      Rabbinic Judaism didn’t yet exist either. Who cares?

      • giladg says:

        Not sure sbout that one Marco. Jesus was a Rabbi. Where was he born?

        • out for an late night/early morning (s)troll gilad? what’s your point? who cares?

        • “what’s your point? who cares?”
          Oh, his point is veeeery clear. Once you’ve been in a place you own it for all eternity. It’s yours! Never mind that for close to 2 thousand years you had no significant presence in it and never stepped a foot in much of the frigging thing.
          That’s the putz’ point.

        • Cliff says:

          judaism in that era was nothing like modern judaism

          arent you a settler/colonist?

          shouldnt religious fanatics like you, actually know a little bit of religious history?

    • Once all residents of Bethlehem were people, the same as they are now. At that time there was no such thing as the psychopathic cult called zionism, no state with military police and barriers surrounding it, no separate laws according to your parenthood, no privileging of one group over another, and no vicious campaign against people who had lived there for generations, no stealing of their houses and dispossessing them, no appeal to a far richer and more powerful country to support a new immigrant population. i could go on, but what is your point? Once upon a time things were totally different, and better for the indigenous people? duh

    • Simply not true. Palestine is mentioned repeatedly in Pharaonic texts from at least 1100 B.C., whereas Judah (origin of the name “Jew”) is not mentioned in any texts until centuries later.

      • Sumud says:

        Palestine is mentioned repeatedly in Pharaonic texts from at least 1100 B.C., whereas Judah (origin of the name “Jew”) is not mentioned in any texts until centuries later.

        According to giladg’s deficient reasoning, this then means that Palestinians are the rightful inheritors of Palestine. He will recognise that – to be morally consistent – he has to make reverse-aliyah since zionist claims on Palestine have turned out to be illegitimate.

        Right giladg?

      • dbroncos says:

        I read that “Philistine” is a greek word, meaning “sea people.”

        • dbroncos says:

          The term “Philistine” has Latin (Philistinus) and Greek (Philistinoi) origins. It’s not known what the ancient Philistines called themselves. In the Bible, Jews sometimes refered to Philistines as the Kaftor people. Kaftor isn’t a word found in Hebrew, Greek or Latin so it’s possible that this is what the ancient Philistines use to call themselves.

        • We do not know the origin of the word. It first appears in 12th century Pharaonic texts as “prst” (or “pereset”, since the Egyptians did not write vowels). The Pharaonic language does not have the letter “L”. The pereset was a group who joined in a land and sea invasion of Egypt. We do not know if they lived in Palestine before the invasion, but we do know that is where they lived afterwards.

          Here is a good article on the subject: link to american-buddha.com

        • MRW says:

          dbroncos (re: March 24, 2013 at 10:59 pm and March 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm)

          From a comment elsewhere by someone named Kanata for whom English is obviously a second language

          Palestinians came from today Dalmatia during the great migrations known as the People of the Sea. They arrived to Palestine around 1250-1225 BC. They were not Semites, they became Semites as the Brits became Germanic or the French became Latins. Don’t be silly ! Not the Brits called the Palestinians so, but the locals who were NOT the Hebrews. At that time, the Brits DIDN’t exist yet ! Abraham or Abram (“the father of a multitude” – Hebrew : ʼaḇ-hămôn goyim) arrived in the area at about the same time, NOT from Ur, but THROUGH Ur FROM Punjab, India. And the Jews KNOW that ! Both people Palestinians and Hebrews were invaders over the local people, mainly called Canaanites.

          The southernmost part of Dalmatia was the Gulf of Kotor.

    • Taxi says:

      Once upon a time ONLY PAGANS lived in Palestine.

      • gamal says:

        careful with Ptah, there, son in law of the sun, his missus leads the Pharaohs in battle, as to Palestine well he should know, seeing as He is the creator, according to the Memphite theology as recorded on the Shabaka stone,

        the first king of Egypt, according to Manetho, under his Greek name Hephaistos, the Pagan deity Ptah, had a son Nefertum, the blue lotus ( a narcotic) was his emblem, and when he matured he would transform into Ra, the paramount deity, his legacy it seems to me lives on, Vulcanization is derived from his Roman name, as well as some religious traditions, pagan or otherwise.

        • mcohen says:

          gamal

          how right you are-it is the sons of Ra that will carry the arab spring forward into the open revolt and bloody conclusion that is inevitable.
          days of darkness a wave of sand

    • talknic says:

      giladg “Once all residents of Bethlehem called themselves Jews.”

      Source being the wholly holey Hasbara bible of bullsh*te?

      “At that time there was no such a thing a “Palestinian”. Islam itself had yet to be introduced to the world”

      A lame Israeli propagandists attempt to conflate Palestinian with Islam. There’s simply no end to the nonsense they’ll spout

    • Djinn says:

      And before that no-one in Bethlehem called themselves Jews. At that time Judaism hadnt been dreamt up.

      Also if the moderate Zionists are not prepared to take on the radicals I their own societies (especially those in high office) then it appears they agree with those radicals and must take responsibility for their own inaction. Gawd gilad get some better material.

    • MRW says:

      Palestine is older than Judaism, giladg. In name, too. It was named in maps that are over 3300 years old (search my archives, I’ve published them often enough), and was the administrative center for Egypt. Canaan, too, was Egyptian.

      link to universitypublishingonline.org

      • MHughes976 says:

        Kaftor is usually reckoned to be Crete, so it was supposed that there was some connection with the once dominant Minoans but the cultural links, pottery style mainly, seem to be with mainland Greece and Mycenae. The ‘Mycenaean IIIc pottery style’ is often mentioned in accounts of Philistia/early Palestine around 1100 BCE. Hearths also appear and that is interesting for the question of the meaning of ‘Palestinian’. A semitic meaning, something like ‘Marauders’, is sometimes given but I think that given the almost undeniable connection with Greece a connection with the Greek words ‘phyle’ = tribe and ‘hestia’ = hearth is much more plausible, making the Palestinians ‘the people of hearth and home’. I’m sure Ptah’s right that the Egyptians called them ‘Pereset’ and that we don’t know where they lived before Ramesses mentions them around 1175. Genesis 20-21, which puts them there before Abraham and portrays them kindly, is intriguing though I don’t think there’s any archaeological support for it as yet.
        The name ‘Land of Israel’ is used very sparingly in the Bible, of course.
        I’ll have a look at MRW’s maps. For a later period I keep harping on Herodotus’ reference (IV, 39) to Palestine as the name for the entire Holy Land. While I’m in the mood for giving references, see Jonathan Golden, Ancient Canaan and Israel, Oxford 2009, p.131 for pottery, 158 for hearths.

        • MHughes976 says:

          The Amarna Letters to which MRW refers are very important as a witness to ancient Palestine – I understand that the normal name is a version of ‘Canaan’.

  9. mcohen says:

    kalithea says

    “darkened soul” ,…. “wolfed down some snacks,”……..”no relief in sight.”

    i eagerly await your midnight hour post…aaaaaahhhhhhhhwhooooooo

  10. Blank State says:

    Well hey….Obama DOES “get it”. At least from a right wing zionists’s perspective, eh? And theres quite a few bigoted zealots in Israel, (that base and justify their hatreds on ancient history), that have a newfound apopreciation for him as well. Yep, the smooth talking misrepresented insincere P.O.S. definitely does “get it”.

  11. MK_Ultra says:

    Pic #1 is testament to the abomination ISreal is. A paranoid invader, surrounded by hostiles because of its own doing and, rather than amend its ways, it buries itself deeper and deeper in its self-victimization, denial, hatred, wallowing and psychopathy. A “security” tower and an Apartheid Wall, offensive abominations of sorts, not only because of what it represents but because it is obscenely obtruding historical buildings. That is a rape to the land and its historic inhabitants and shows that, contrary to the Zionists’ claims & what they want to force everyone to believe, they have no connection to the land they invaded and have so mercilessly and disrespectfully occupied neither spiritual much less sentimental. They have, taken a flourishing land, a vibrant society, one of the most historically rich and important landscapes on the planet and turned it into little more than a cesspool of hatred and incongruence. The place is a slap on the face of history and humanity with no respect for tradition or decency. Again I’ll say it, if Jesus came back and saw what the Zionists have done with the place, he’d probably hang himself if he could find a pole or [native] tree that didn’t have a commercial sign peddling something stolen from the Palestinians for profit, something that seems difficult. Shameful!

  12. Blank State says:

    BTW, interesting how far Hagel has been placed from Obama’s pilgrimage of fealty, eh? Wouldn’t wanna offend the real bigots by dancing a truly un-prejudiced human before them.

    Gads, I bet its hard for Hagel to stomach what he has had to become in order to occupy his present position. To sell out so late in life has gotta be gut wrenching. I wonder, in the end, if he’ll think it was worth it.

  13. seafoid says:

    a very good report. The whole Obama story is about image over substance. Why would he be any different in Palestine? In the US his job is to oversee the transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class to the rich.

    The rich minorities control the gov’ment
    But they would have you believe we on the same team
    So where you stand, huh?
    What do you stand for?

  14. jon s says:

    To all who are celebrating: A Happy and Kosher Passover!
    חג כשר ושמח!

  15. Citizen says:

    Parishes from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas received between 30% & 40% of the permits they requested from Israel to attend Palm Sunday yesterday.
    On yesterday’s Palm Sunday.and this Holy Week most Israelis will be in denial over tens of thousands of WB Christians who can’t access their holy sites

  16. Tom Suarez says:

    “DICKERSON3870″ commented that the “formidable police and soldiers” of the Palestinian Authority are considered by some Palestinians to be collaborators with the Israel in its occupation.

    Just to say I completely agree. The PA serves only at the pleasure of Israel and the US, and many of its soldiers were trained by the CIA. I hope I did not give any impression to the contrary.