First quick visit to Jerusale and Bethlehem
by ray goodlass
As I had today free before I make my own way to Bethlehem to start the Peace Project tommorrow I took a tour to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to get the lie of the land, and I’m glad I did.
Wearing my Peace Activism hat the most memorable things were my first sight of the infamous Separation Wall from close up, and the ever sprouting Israeli settlements, on Palestinian land, of course. Not to mention the gun-toting Israeli miltary border crossings guards. Interestngly, though the Israelis keep their side of the 6 metre high wall (topped by razor wire) in pristine condition, the Palestinians on their side use it as a canvas for political slogans, cartoons and graffiti.
However, wearing my cultural tourist hat the most memorable moment for me, which I’ll never forget, was my first gob-smacking moment at the Mount of Olives when I looked across and saw, within the walled Old City, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Agai, being a cultural tourst I also saw the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. I guess the Wailing Wall is at least genuine, though why anyone would believe praying to it would ever do any good is beyond me, but I’ve read enough to know that that all the Christian stuff is totally invented by the various churches and the Crusader rulers to con and get money out of, initially, pilgrims, and now tourists.
Off to join up with the Palestinian peace people now, with keen anticipation. The journey, across Israel bus and shared taxi, will itself be an adventure.