The Palestinian Authority is going to use Christmas to highlight their statehood push. Judging from this AP report, they’ve already become The Grinch That Politicized Christmas:
As part of the campaign, the Palestinians also offer pre-Christmas media tours to highlight Bethlehem area settlement expansion and the disruption caused by Israel’s separation barrier which surrounds the city on three sides. Israel announced or approved plans for thousands more apartments for Jews in the Bethlehem area in recent months, settlement watchdogs say.
“This Christmas will be an opportunity to show the real threat to the city of Bethlehem — the settlement enterprise and the wall that separates the city from its twin, Jerusalem,” said Ziad Bandak, an Abbas adviser on Christian affairs . . .
Local Christians say they have no problem with politicizing the holiday, saying the conflict with Israel affects everyone’s lives here.
“The settlements and the wall turned Bethlehem into a jail,” said Suzan Atallah, a 48-year-old teacher and mother of four . . .
Their media tours of settlements and security barrier are year-round — nothing Christmassy there. Getting locals to denounce Israel is also regular enough.
I’m sure residents would be happen enough to talk about the PA’s persecution of Christians — land theft, extortion and forced conversions — if these media tours are really about the full picture of what we might see in an independent Palestinian state.
Then there’s this snippet:
Israel portrays the wall as a defense against militants who during the years of violence would regularly infiltrate Israel, killing hundreds in suicide bombings and other attacks. The Palestinians denounce it a land grab, because in many places it encroaches into the West Bank, effectively pushing the de facto border forward.
The effects of the security wall are reported as factual, while Israel’s reasons for building it in the first place are just a portrayal?
Spoken like a real handler.
Related reading: 2 Christmas Season Stories We Can Do Without
(Image via Flickr/Tracy Hunter)