Big surprise! "Media's two-faced Christmas coverage," by Aaron Klein for YnetNews (thanks to Sr. Soph):
Ah, Christmas in Bethlehem. Manger Square is ablaze with colorful lights. The weather is usually a bit chilly. Aggressive merchants bombard passersby with “special sales” on all kinds of cedar wood statues and religious carvings.
And like clockwork, the mainstream media descend upon this city every year to ignore rampant Muslim intimidation of Christians and instead blast Israel - often with completely inaccurate information - for ruining Christmas and for the drastic decline of Christianity in one of the holiest cities for that religion.
Take a widely circulated piece by McClatchy Newspapers writers Dion Nissenbaum and Cliff Churgin.
The piece, published last week, cites Bethlehem's dwindling Christian population and paints a picture that squarely blames Israel.
"For generations, the Holy Land Arts Museum (in Bethlehem) has been selling olivewood manger scenes to thousands of pilgrims wanting souvenirs from the biblical birthplace of Jesus," starts the piece.
"Gone is the olivewood stable shielding the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In its place, looming over the angelic family, are an Israeli watchtower and three towering sections of an adjoining wall."
Outright lying, the McClatchy Newspapers piece stated Bethlehem "remains largely isolated from the outside world by Israel’s 25-foot-tall concrete walls, part of Israel’s separation barrier."
The piece implied the wall caused the crash of Bethlehem's economy and prompted Christians to flee. Similar articles were churned out by Reuters, the BBC online and scores of local newspapers.
ABC News, for example, chimes in: "The (Israeli) wall has cast a shadow over this famous West Bank town."
Now let's get our facts straight. Bethlehem is not surrounded by any wall.
Israel in 2002 built a fence in the area where northern Bethlehem interfaces with Jerusalem. A tiny segment of that barrier, facing a major Israeli roadway, is a concrete wall, which Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists.
The fence was constructed after the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada, or terror war, launched in 2000 after late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat turned down an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state, returning to the Middle East to liberate Palestine with violence.
Read it all.