Friday, January 18, 2008

18-Jan-08: Rockets from outside, jihadist bombs from within

A month ago (but embargoed until yesterday), Israel's security forces uncovered a jihadist plot to bomb the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem railroad by planting a bomb on the tracks at the point it approaches Bethlehem, the Palestinian-Arab-controlled town where they lived. Four jihadists have been arrested, all in their twenties. Their explosives lab was also working on explosives to be hurled at Israeli cars.

World Magazine points out that ten years ago "Bethlehem had a population roughly 60 percent Christian; today it is closer to 10 percent as Christians flee or are forced out by Islamic extremists and an often hostile Palestinian Authority. In Gaza, where believers number less than 1 percent of the population, the manager of the only Christian bookstore in the territory, 31-year-old Rami Ayad, was kidnapped and found dead in the street last October."

The terrorism and denial-ism emanating from the jihadists don't grab that much attention from mainstream editors and their local reporters. The Age (Melbourne), for instance, has a Bethlehem article today. But it's not about Bethlehem-based jihadism or the de-Christianizing of the town and the region. Instead it's yet another partisan wail by the context-averse Ed O'Loughlin: "In the settlements [he writes] and on the bypass roads, meanwhile, Jewish settlers and visiting Israelis - even foreign tourists with no connection to the land - enjoy freedom of movement and superior rights and protections to the indigenous Palestinians."

It will be a cold day in hell before O'Loughlin and reporters of his ilk become the arbiters of who is connected to this land.

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