Irish comedian Deirdre O’Kane visited Gaza courtesy of anti-Israel charity Trócaire and wrote up her experiences for the Irish Independent. Her description of Gaza avoided politics. However, a reference to Bethlehem in both the article and the headline need addressing.
O’Kane concludes her article with the following:
Onwards from Gaza to Bethlehem. I thought I would look for somewhere in this holy land to say a prayer for Gaza. But what greeted me on first sight was an unholy mess… they have built a wall around Bethlehem. Enough of the walls already.
Actually, nobody has “built a wall around Bethlehem,” which would imply that the Palestinian city is surrounded. Yes, the Israeli security barrier affects movement in and out of Bethlehem but a look at this B’tselem map, with the route of the security barrier in red, is enough to show that the entire southern part of the city is open.
Too often, Israel’s security barrier is misrepresented and maligned by wrongly portraying Bethlehem’s residents as prisoners of or surrounded by a wall.
Deirdre O’Kane may have visited with the best of intentions but her casual and inaccurate description, amplified by the Irish Independent’s choice of headline, is no laughing matter.
Source material can be found at this site.