Friday, January 18, 2008

Bethlehem : The House of Meat

Bethlehem: The House of Meat

Beit Layhm. It means the house of meat. But we just think it means where Jesus was born. From Israel, Jerusalem, to get to Bethlehem, you have to go through a check point. There is a wall. A huge wall, 40ft high in places, made of steel reinforced concrete sections that were maybe made somewhere else to preclude terrorist involvement in the manufacture and dropped into the ground and linked by giant helicopters. It is very grey and ominous, as we approach on Christmas eve, with nary a red or green light. You can see the lights in the watchtowers, but they aren't very festive, being spots to ease the aim of snipers picking off suspected destroyers of peace. Not very festive at all. But still, hope abides, because its quiet and it looks like we can all get along for one more day.

The taxi driver from Jeru drops us off for 20 shekels at the cattle gate and we weave through it gazing at the razor wire. Like sheep making our way to slaughter we wander into the building made of half inch thick rumpled steel. Just like at the border with Jordan, all the checkpoint officers are women. They are so bored. So bored, and still they ask the cursory questions and try to see if your eyes dart when you answer.

And I make the bahahahah sheep sound as we scuttle thru the turnstile. But its pretty grim here, and no one laughs. The grimness doesn't wear off for a while, because we quickly cop to the fact that there is some active oppression going on here.

And the grafitti on the bethlehem side of the wall confirms it.

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