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Bethlehem - Abusing the Christmas Story By: HonestReporting.com
HonestReporting.com | Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In a tasteless affront to one billion Christians worldwide, the Independent, a leading British daily, describes the Virgin Mary as a "Palestinian refugee in Bethlehem", and present-day pregnant Palestinian women as "21st century Marys" who "have been giving birth in startlingly similar conditions to those suffered by Mary 2,000 years ago."

The December 23 article by Johann Hari paints a picture of Israeli malevolence towards pregnant Palestinian women, quoting a Palestinian woman who rails against harsh conditions supposedly caused by Israel:

"What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today? She would endure what I have endured."

Yet, readers must scroll down halfway through this 1,500-word piece to discover the real cause of Palestinian suffering:

"Following the election of Hamas, the world choked off funding for the Palestinian Authority, which suddenly found itself unable to pay its doctors and nurses. After several months medical staff went on strike, refusing to take anything but emergency cases."

The Independent blames Israel for checkpoint security measures, but fails to provide context with the well-documented Palestinian abuse of ambulances and medical facilities to transport and harbor terrorists. Nor does the Independent mention the 2002 arrest of a Palestinian terrorist recruited to carry out a suicide bombing disguised as a pregnant woman -- a graphic reminder of the depths that terror groups will sink in their efforts to bypass Israeli security.

Read the article online and if you feel that the Independent has launched an unfair seasonal attack on Israel, send your comments to the Independent - letters@independent.co.uk


The Chicago Tribune also engages in abusing religious tradition and symbolism in order to attack Israel, as Mary Ann Weston, in Bethlehem, quotes from Christian scripture and asks: "If Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem today, would they get in? Would they make it to the manger, or would the holy child be delivered at an Israeli checkpoint?"

In a one-sided criticism of Israel's security barrier, Weston describes Bethlehem as a "city withering under Israeli occupation". Implicating Israel's responsibility, she states that the "Christian population, which was 80 percent in 1948, is now less than 20 percent" despite the fact that Israel was not even in control of the West Bank before 1967 and failing to acknowledge Muslim persecution of Christians in the Holy Land. (See sources below.)

Please send your comments to the Chicago Tribune - ctc-TribLetter@Tribune.com


Some media outlets, such as those above, have published superficial and inaccurate parodies of the Christmas story in order to attack Israel. Other sources have dug deeper revealing a very different story concerning Bethlehem and the decline of the region's Christian population. Please take the time to read some of the sources below to help you respond to media bias on this issue.

Justus Reid Weiner, JCPA, Christians Flee Growing Islamic Fundamentalism in the Holy Land

Justus Reid Weiner, JCPA, Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society

Keith Roderick, National Review Online, What Will the Wise Men Bring to Bethlehem?

Baltimore Sun, A somber Christmas for Gaza's Christians

Daily Mail, Oh, Muslim town of Bethlehem...

The Israel Project, Israeli Government Works to Make Christmas Merry for Tens of Thousands of Pilgrims and Citizens

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