This is a very interesting and touching series of posts at the blog, “Another Voice”.
The blog itself is unique for it is operated by a small group of Israeli and Palestinian women who write about their pursuit for peace in the midst of conflict.
This particular series of posts, titled Can Mary Get to Bethlehem? tells us of the problems Mary and Joseph would face today on their journey to Bethlehem. It’s being told in (4) separate posts…only (2) have been shared to date. The remaining two segments are to be posted on the 16th and 23rd of December. I’ve really enjoyed the first two segments and plan to check back Tuesday for part (3).
From Part (1) –
Recently we have been contemplating how Mary would travel to Bethlehem if she had to go there in 2014. Part of the area surrounding Bethlehem is under Israeli military occupation, and while Palestinians technically have civil and security control of Bethlehem as it is part of Area A (see more on Areas A, B and C here, and an interactive map here), Israel is quick to override this ‘authority’ and go whenever it sees fit (as we saw this past summer).
Palestinians from the West Bank who have permission to work in Israel can come and go, so long as they abide by the stipulations of their permission (which usually involves getting in line at the checkpoint around 5:00am to get to work in Israel by 7:00 or 7:30am, and returning by an evening curfew of 7:00pm). Jerusalemite Palestinians can come and go into Bethlehem and the West Bank.
While the signs say Israeli citizens aren’t allowed into Bethlehem, this is open to much interpretation. In practice, Israeli Palestinians are allowed free entry into and out of the West Bank, as well as other Israeli non-Jews (internationals married to locals, for example). Israeli Jews, on the other hand, are not allowed entrance into Area A, and if they try and cross the checkpoints like non-Jewish Israelis, they are often turned around by Israeli soldiers. (Israeli Jews, however, are allowed into Area C — most of the West Bank, and areas where Jewish settlements are built.)
To illustrate the current situation, we each considered the questions, “If I were Mary, and I had to go to Bethlehem today, how would I get there?” And, “What might I see, think and experience along the way?”
Every Tuesday for the next few weeks, we will share our thoughts on these questions, and our hypothetical journeys from our homes and cities to Bethlehem.