Tuesday, July 13

The BBC: To Jerusalem via Palestinian Paths

The Long and the Short of it:

The BBC has a small, almost non-article, actually, once you actually read down to the end, on the news homepage describing the trek to Jerusalem by two of its reporters: "Each started at the same time, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) from Jerusalem - Matthew Price in the northern West Bank, and James Reynolds in the south."

Allotting six hours for the parallel race, and apparently expecting a sort of Palestinian version of "Fear Factor," according to the gloomy secondary headline, both managed to make it into the capital using local taxis traveling on bumpy back roads, reaching an agreed upon rooftop coffeehouse in the Old City. Tres chic.

Both started out at 11:15, and arrive by 14:50, according to the timestamps above each entry - certainly long enough for a hot day, but considering that they encountered no significant roadblocks, checkpoints or harassment by IDF personnel - this despite the clear expectation of 'Israeli oppression' - not too shabby for ambling along snakey, potholed roads traversing picturesque olive groves and hillsides.

Israel, thanks to the security barrier, has completely or partially removed, or relocated some 80 roadblocks throughout the West Bank, in an effort to ease the plight of Palestinians not involved in terrorism, according to the IDF Spokesman's Office in a recent communique.

"1410: Matthew Price
One last checkpoint. This time heading into Jerusalem. The soldiers open the door and look at our IDs, Then wave us through. It takes a few minutes, but it's pretty painless."

Well said, Mr. Price.

Perhaps the BBC, as reflected in reports like this, and with their new Middle East ombudsman, is - slowly - getting the message: "When the terror ends, the wall falls."

PA 'confused after ICJ victory'

"The Palestinian leadership still hasn’t made a final decision on how to pursue the fence case, but the impression in Ramallah is that there is a lot of confusion among the top brass of the Palestinian Authority,' writes colleague Khaled Abu Toameh in an update this morning on Access Middle East.

Despite a flurry of elated sound-bites, handed 'round to the media in the wake of the decision, "as soon as it became clear that the US was planning to veto the Palestinian case before the UN, Arafat has apparently decided to hold off pushing for a UN hearing until after the presidential elections in the US in November."

So, Israel's security barrier supporters still have room for optimism. Maybe more than "India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - [who] voted to refer the Israeli security fence to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion, even though they had themselves built barriers in areas contested by their neighbors," David Makovsky and Ben Thein of the Washington Institute write.

All wired up and nowhere to go...

Great editorial cartoon about the United Nations International Court of Justice ruling on the West Bank security barrier.


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