For Israelis and Palestinians the quest to find a peaceful settlement in this tiny piece of land, only 1.2 Waleses in size, is a matter of life and death. For foreigners active in the conflict on one side or the other it is an obsession.
I’ve always found it strange that people in the West are so fixated by the subject, especially now that the rest of the Middle East is filled with daily atrocities and injustices that dwarf anything in the Holy Land.
In fact one of the few concrete benefits of the 2011 Arab uprisings is that there has been a marked decline in the number of people offering an opinion on Israel/Palestine. I know that 100,000 dead in Syria is a high price to pay for that, but I suppose we should look at the upsides.
There are still a few, such as those people at St James’s in Piccadilly who, despite Christians in the Middle East suffering one or two more pressing problems, decided to construct a replica wall to protest against Israel. Of course the Israeli barrier is a serious problem for the Christians in Bethlehem, and people in Beit Jala now face losing their homes. But surely there is an issue of perspective this year at least? How would they show their solidarity with Egyptian Christians – by burning down the church?