Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bush had been otherwise occupied--now let us prey, er, pray

George Bush, the lame duck American president on tour in Jerusalem and the West Bank, has today urged Israelis to "end the occupation" This carefully coded turn of phrase sounds like criticism, but it is aimed at Palestinian politicians, to show the US wants concessions from all players. Bush also stressed that all infrastructure of terror must be dismantled inside the territories. When his flacks spoke about signing a peace treaty before his term ends, there was a smattering of applause. At least one more flying visit to the region is on the cards before Bush hands over power to his successor next January. Will this treaty yield anything tangible? Conflict seems so ingrained here.
Earlier, Bethlehem was disrupted when Bush choppered in to pray at the Church of the Nativity.

Snipers patrolled the roof of the church near a hanging plastic Santa Claus left over from Christmas, while Bush remained inside for under an hour. There was no longer any trace of the Bethlehem bedlam which arose when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests duked it out inside the walls of the Church of the Nativity last week. The dispute was about how to clean the holy house after the Christmas rush. Palestinian police broke up the ruckus-- but only after brooms and stones started flying. Four people – out of around fifty who are suspected to be involved in the melee – were reported wounded.
Young supporters of Bush today were shushed by security cops when they tried to cheer. Like many Texan Christians who visit the Holy Land, Bush intends to trace the footsteps of Jesus Christ, whom he once described as his favourite philosopher and whose teachings he says have informed his presidency, including his divisive foreign policies.

On Friday Bush will fly north to the Galilee, where Jesus delivered many of his best known lines, including the Sermon on the Mount in which he said "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God".

All the flagwaving on these tours has an unfortunate connotation: the Lena Riefesntahl aesthetic, which is best avoided in a country like Israel which abhors that German regime responsible for the holocaust. Less is more, even on stage, guys. One flag each is enough. Those lines of soggy stars and stripes and Magen Davids lining the main streets already look sad and discarded. There must be a better way. (Maybe projected images?) Israelity bites


kabbalapapa said...

Bush, guarded by
ten thousand policemen in Jerusalem, told Condoleezza Rice
that the United States should have bombed Auschwitz, [huh...that would have killed the inmates, presumably....or maybe he meant the railway lines] and ironically he
was flown by helicopter to Bethlehem so that he could pass
through a tiny Door of Humility and pray at the venerated birthplace of Jesus H. Christ. Oy Vey. WHo scripts this?

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