Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Little Donkey

It is a 90 mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem so how different would the trip the donkey made on that dusty road 2015 years ago be today?
The Bible is unhelpful about the exact route so let's take the direct route and the donkey has a relatively straightforward plod until it reaches the first of numerous Israeli military checkpoints, this one at Jalame where the wall separates the occupied West Bank from Israel.
Once past the heavily armed soldiers, lookout towers, razor wire and gun turrets we come to Jenin, stronghold of Islamist militant groups and regular recipient of Israeli military incursions.
On the other side of Jenin lies another four Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks, then the Palestinian city of Nablus surrounded on 3 sides by refugee camps.
Israel soldiers control the entrance and exit from the city and then it's onto route 433.
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 was only closed to Palestinians until this summer.
We get off the tarmac at Ramallah and through another set of Israeli military checkpoints who control who comes in and who goes out of the City.
South again and Jerusalem appears in the distance, entry and exit to the city through 4 military checkpoints and 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 checkpoints.
The donkey can have a rest and Mary and Joseph can find a nice stable and hope that the 3 wise men have all the right permits and make it through unscathed.

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