Friday, January 03, 2014

Israel security fence: Christmas desecrated

Well, the news is getting round. St James's Church in Piccadilly, London, has an eight metre-high, 30 metre-long wall in its courtyard from December 23 to January 5 as part of its festival Bethlehem Unwrapped: A festival of Bethlehem at Christmas.

Its purpose is to draw attention to the "apartheid wall" that "surrounds Bethlehem," where Christ was born. The thing is, first, Israel isn't apartheid, and never has been. Second, the wall doesn't surround Bethlehem, or anything like it.

The Israelis built the security fence because they were sick and tired of innocent Israeli civilians being blown to pieces by terrorist bombs in buses, hotels, restaurants and night clubs. From the beginning of the Second Intifada to the construction of the first continuous section of the barrier in July, 2003, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring more than 1,900.

Says Raheem Kassam: "As early as 2006 it was reported that since the fence's erection, there was an approximate 90 percent decrease in the number of successful terror attacks registered. A drop of approximately 70 percent was also recorded in the number of casualties resulting from terror attacks."

Of the numbers of men, women and children killed and the number of lives saved by the security fence: at St James's Church, presumably, not a word. Of the deep hurt caused to families of the innocent people massacred, well, they're Israelis, so who cares?

(You can read an impassioned letter to the church from a woman who almost died in a Palestinian terrorist attack here.)

An alternative service of lessons and carols at St James's features traditional carols suitably desecrated to attack Israel, as follows:

Once in Royal David's city
  Stood a big apartheid wall;
People entering and leaving
  Had to pass a checkpoint hall.
Bethlehem was strangulated;
  And her children segregated.

It is inexpressibly sad that Christian churches, and Christianity itself, should be used for blatant political propaganda.

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