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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bring your documents

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Palestine News Network reports:

"The Mayor of Bethlehem arrives in London today (Wednesday 9 November) to declare Bethlehem an open city and announce that his city is to issue a Bethlehem passport, open to anyone in the world.

"The initiative is designed to transcend the imprisonment of his city by a combination of the illegal wall and militarised fences, with only two gates to the outside world.

"The current situation is grim. The walls and fences that encircle Bethlehem have turned this 4000 year old city into a prison for its 160,000 citizens. The number of tourists visiting Bethlehem has dropped from nearly 92,000 in 2000 to a mere 7,249 in 2004. In the last five years 9.3 per cent of the Christian population of Bethlehem has emigrated. Restaurants, shops and commercial outlets have shrunk and Bethlehem’s economy is threatened."

Yet another nearly hidden side of Israel's ongoing occupation.

23 Comments:

Blogger Pete's Blog said...

But there may be benefits in terms of historical preservation AL.

No ancient hovels and shrines being knocked down to make way for the Bethlehem Hilton. No visits by Paris Hilton - there being nowhere chic to shop for plastic mangers or bling.

Slightly more seriously if Bethlehem is securely walled off by the Israelis would they be less likely to shell or bulldoze it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:59:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Probably make no difference, sadly. The occupation is so pervasive, people, ancient buildings and the like become an irrelevance.
History will judge harshly, as it should.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 4:09:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Hey, speaking of Christians in Bethlehem, why is it that there are never any Christian suicide bombers? It's just as much their land that is being "occupied".

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 5:11:00 pm  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Actually, sadly, there have been 'Christian' suicide bombers.

A lot of the tour operators inside Israel say Bethlehem is too dangerous for tourists, so the local tourism industry has faultered somewhat. But Bethlehem is probably the best kept secret in Palestine. Some nice stone pubs, good restaurants, and very welcoming locals.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 8:43:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

History will judge the Palestinians harshly.

And which christian was that? There was the american suicide, Corrie, but she carried no bomb.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 8:58:00 pm  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Igbal

Like Ibrah I'm interested to hear more about "Christian suicide bombers". Were/are they active in Lebanon?
eg. Christian bombers in Muslim crowds.

Or are you talking about random nutters who blow themselves (and others) up and are incidentally "Christians".

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 1:07:00 am  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Sorry, I mean't "Iqbal"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 1:09:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ibrahamav said...
"History will judge the Palestinians harshly."

I doubt this. History is usually kinder to those who are dissenfranchised and overpowered.

History has been respectful of the Jews because of the horrors of the 1940's, a time when they were overpowered and persecuted, and rightly so.

It remains to be seen how Israel itself will be remembered.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:02:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

History is never kind to those who use martyrdom as an excuse to kill babies.

History has been respectful of the Jews because of the overwhelming horror and the civilized world's guilt for hardly doing a thing to stop it.

It seems that the previous poster's doubts are based on something other than reality. What could it be?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:01:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

You yourself have stated that you are unhappy about the way Israeli Arabs aer treated Ibraham.

They are treated as second class citizens becuase they are disempoewered. No need to be coy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 2:07:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

I am not happy how Israeli arabs are treated in Israel. But The israeli arab is by no means disempowered.

Every single Arab country will be judged harshly for treating minorities as 4th class citizens, while Israel will stand with most western civilized countries who treat them as second class. Those countries will be judged lightly, because there is no perfect country.

I'm not proud of the Israeli record on this issue, but I am horrified, and the rest of the world is horrified at the arab treatment of those not arab and the right brand of Islam.

This is another area in which you betray your antisemitic bent.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 2:50:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Can the man write anything without mentioning anti-Semitism?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:01:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ibraham,

It is refreshing to hear you expressing some empathy for a change, rather than being so combative. You have more to offer this forum than you allow yourself.

No I am not antisemitic Ibraham. I just cannot tolerate peple being victimised, and I cannot tolerate cruelty of any kind. One of the mini-series I most remember watching as a child was Holocaust (in the 80's). It was one of the most horrific and tragic tales and I have ever watched. I could not imagine people treating each other in such a way, and it disturbed me for a very long time.

Similarly today, there many in muslinm countries sufferin from inhumane treatment by powerful oppressors.

I have a number of close Jewish friends, and I often help the orthodox Jewish women with their baby buggies in the building where I work. I don't do it to feel good about myself, but because I hate seeing women struggle own their own, and because it's the right thing to do.

You are so used to assuming and expecting the worst in people Ibraham. You should chill out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:17:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Antony, as half of your posts have that bent, it is surprising that your identification bothers you so much.

Denying and antisemitic bent when your writing holds so much is unbecoming. I expect the worst in people? Look at all of the suicide bombing and look who is supporting it. You can't stand oppression? Put your body between the suicide bomber and the Jewish child.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:20:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

That would render me unable to put myself between an IDF soldier and a 13 year old Palesstian girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:38:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

You wouldn't need to, as no IDF soldiers are out their looking to kill 13 year old girls.

Only an antisemite would suggest such a thing.

That's right, one just did.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:41:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

You appear not the least bit concerned about this because you are in agreement with the policies of the IDF.

So tell me, what is an anti-semite who said this: "Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."?

Sounds like something that would have been commonly uttered in Auschwitz.

How many bullets does it take to confirm a kill anyway?

"Dr Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child's body at Rafah hospital, counted numerous wounds. "She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs,""

You are revealing more about yourself every day Ibraham. Eddie's theory is beginning to take shape.

I would not be surprised if stories make you feel warm and funny inside. Read the transcript you blood sucking racist.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 3:00:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Again, you have such a problem with the statement of an Islamic Muslem commander in the field, surrounded by enemies.

He unloaded a full clip on automatic. Not single shots.

Seems your antisemitism can not let go long enough to actually comprehend the story. That is your racism talking. Too bad.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 3:46:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

He unloaded a full clip, yes, but in two bursts.

What does being surrounded by enemies have to do with his conduct of unloading a clips in two bursts? First to the head, then to return and to the body.

And what kind of idiot would unload a full clip, and not leave any rounds in his rifle if he was indeed surrounded by enemies?

You are undeniably a bigot and the racist. If you had any empathy for humanity, you would aknowledge the tragedy of this event. You are so quick to point out the crimes inflicted by suicide bombers on innocent civilians, yet you unconditioally leap to the defense of the IDF. You choose to hide behind innuendo, by raising the unsupported claim that the IDF Captain was an Islamic Muslim, while ignoring that he was apaprently acting under orders.

If you suggest he was acting alone and acting beyond his orders, then he shoudl have been foudn guilty of more serious crimes.

You should face up to the fact that you don't care squat about what happens to Palestinians and that you regard this as a positive event.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 4:32:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

The witnesses, who could be lying according to your statement, said he put two bullets in her head. Two bullets are not a burst.

Who said he did not immediately reload? It takes barely a second for an experienced soldier.

You make many assumptions not made by intelligent unbiased people. Perhaps your antisemitism has lead you down the road of hatemongering?

Putting extra bullets into a dead body is not a felony. It is unbecoming and an officer in the IDF should not do it and he should be removed from command.

But your desire to treat this as a criminal action has more to do with your racism than it does with reality.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:24:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Well, finally we are making progress.

The question of criminality assumes that Israeli laws are all poweful and biding. Were a police officer to to it in any other country, it would certainyl be regarded as criminal.

In anyone's world, unloading a clip into a dead body, espeically that of a young girl, amounts to desecration.

Yes the witnesses are biased and could be lying. Same thing goes for the IDF personell who witnessed the event.

And let's be reminded that the girl was moving away from the bag after she had dropped it. the soldiers fiored rounds into her bag to check if ti was a bomb and then shot her afterwards, so killing her was probably unecessary.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:49:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Desecration, in a war like setting, is rarely considered criminal enough to warrent any stockade time.

In fact, one of the IDF members who testified against the officer stated he lied.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 6:43:00 am  
Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Hello All,

Just a stop press about a previous comment of mine. I said that there have been suicide bombers of Christian origin in the past. That comment was based on my readings. To be precise, the recollection of something I have read. After someone queried that comment, I did some further research and indeed I was quite incorrect. Whilst there have been Christian converts to Islam who latterly became suicide bombers, and ostensibly Christian Palestinians are involved in armed resistance to the occupation, to my knowledge there has never been a 'Christian' suicide bomber (well, to the extent that a suicide bomber may be described on the basis of their religious denomination).

Apologies for the inadvertent misinformation.

Iqbal.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:15:00 pm  

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