Jerusalem to the West Bank to Palestine to Bethlehem to Israel, January 3, 2023
What a day! I saw so much but came home so confused! I’ll try to sort things out.
According to Wikipedia, The West Bank is a landlocked territory that forms the main bulk of the Palestinian territories. It is bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west, and north. Under an Israeli military occupation since 1967, its area is split into 165 Palestinian "islands" that are under total or partial civil administration by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and 230 Israeli settlements into which Israeli law is "pipelined". The West Bank includes East Jerusalem.
What is Palestine? According to Wikipedia, Palestine is officially governed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It claims the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as its territory, though the entirety of that territory has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. As a result of the Oslo Accords of 1993–1995, the West Bank is currently divided into 165 Palestinian enclaves that are under partial Palestinian National Authority (PNA) rule; the remainder, including 200 Israeli settlements, is under full Israeli control. The Gaza Strip has been ruled by the militant Islamic group Hamas and has been subject to a long-term blockade by Egypt and Israel since 2007.
Watch “The Israeli Palestinian Conflict Explained” here- https://youtu.be/cphJJZQtx-U
So, I was up bright and early for my 7:30 tour. I headed out to get on the bus and as I was reaching the door to climb up the stairs into the coach I asked the people ahead of me why they had backpacks. Well, they were on an overnight trip to Petra! Thank goodness I asked, I’m sure I’d have figured it out before we left but…
Once on the right coach, we drove north without a guide through a check point into Palestine. The cars coming out were lined up for miles and as Don our guide explained, Palestinians need a permit to get into Israel to visit or work. His cousin leaves home at 3 am to get to work on time. We got through without even stopping: Israel doesn’t care if you’re going into Palestine, and we picked up our guide along the side of the road. Then, our bus driver decided to go around a big truck that was going the wrong way, coming towards us in our lane and he jumped the curb and hung up the back wheels on the bus. He spun his tires for 45 minutes. He put rocks under the wheels to no avail and finally got a truck to pull us off-
The traffic was nuts and they’re constantly blowing their horns-
We weren’t able to go into the cave where Jesus was born because it was a 2 hour line up. We did however go into the cave beside it where there are a lot of altars and other symbols. Jesus was born in a stable and all nativity scenes show a wooden building but of course in the year zero, Jesus would’ve been born in a cave where the animals would’ve lived during that time. I do not doubt the fact that Jesus lived and I see him as a prophet to teach us how to live a better life.
He found a skull near a grave and learned that life is short, we need to live it rather than put off what we want to do. He apparently kept the skull on his desk as a reminder-