Friday, December 22, 2006

Slapping down the possibility of peace?


Security was the focus for a quartet of Christian clergymen who crossed into Bethlehem to pray at the grotto where they believe Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was born. The Archbishop of Canterbury, appalled
by his grim journey into the West Bank, pointed out how
the new security barrier, which the Israelis say is preventing suicide attacks, is a manifest symbol of what is "deeply wrong in the human heart". It reveals a "fear of the other and the stranger which keeps all of us in one or another kind of prison", he said. "In this so troubled, complex land, justice and security is never something which one person claims at the expense of another or one community at the expense of another," the archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, added.

The flight of Christians from this celebrated town is a response to heightened violence and isolation--factors which makes it increasingly hard to eke out a living. Christians used to make up more than 85 per cent of Bethlehem's population in 1948; today they comprise only 12 per cent. But Christian proprietors owned most of the town's hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. As the West Bank's middle classes abandon their family property, what little prosperity there was vanishes.

Without prosperity, there can be little hope for a Palestinian peace.

Considering the chaos between splintering Palestinian factions, mixed with opportunistic neighbor states that encourage and arm them, the future for peace looks dismal.
Amos Oz ponders the preconditions that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is putting on any negotiations with Syria, in his latest opinion piece that appeared in the Parisian press; meanwhile Marek Halter, in Le Figaro, examine recent blunders which may be stoking future war in the Middle East.
He cites the
prophet Isaiah - who he calls the ultimate proto-activist, armed only with the Word:
"And the fruit of justice shall be peace; and justice will deliver tranquility and security for all." (Isaiah 32:17)



1 comment:

A Carpenter said...

Izzy--your statistics are suspect.
The 12 per cent is for all the West Bank, I suspect.
Acc to Don Macintyre in the LondonIndependent,
Bethlehem's 1970s Christian majority among Palestinians has now dwindled to 45 per cent in the city and 20 per cent in the wider district.