Friday, 12 December 2014

Little Donkey On The Dusty Road Today

As religion is such a divisive idea, it is no surprise that the place where Christianity began is torn apart with religious differences.
So much so that the 90 mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem that Mary, Joseph and a donkey purportedly made on a dusty road 2000 years ago is a much more arduous trek today in 2014.
The Bible is unhelpful about the exact route so let's take our pregnant mother, husband and mode of transport the direct route today from Nazareth and the donkey has a relatively straightforward plod until it reaches the first of numerous Israeli military checkpoints, this one at Jalame where the 12 foot high wall separates the occupied West Bank from Israel.
Once the permits have been checked by the heavily armed soldiers, the trio would pass along lookout towers, razor wire and gun turrets until they come to Jenin which is the stronghold of Islamist militant groups who are regular recipients of Israeli military incursions.
Once through Jenin, it's more permit checks at another four Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks, then it's onto the Palestinian city of Nablus which is surrounded on 3 sides by refugee camps.
Israel soldiers control the entrance and exit from the city and then it's onto route 433 but being Jews, Mary, Joseph and the plodding donkey would have no problem using this 12 mile stretch of road through the West Bank as it is only open to Palestinians for a few hours a day and they would not have any problems at any of the 256 temporary checkpoints dotted along the route.
We get off the tarmac at Ramallah and through another set of Israeli military checkpoints which control who comes in and who goes out of the City.
Heading south again, Jerusalem appears in the distance and entry and exit to the city is made through 4 military checkpoints before finally, after negotiating the way through the refugee camps of Aida and Azza, we reach the city of Bethlehem flanked by 30ft high concrete walls and military roadblocks and yet more checkpoints.
On verification of their papers, the donkey can finally have a rest and Mary and Joseph can find a nice stable with a decent sized manger and hope that the 3 wise men have all the right permits and make it through unscathed.

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