Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Benefits of "Separation Barrier"

Great and unexpected news! Now it is easier, and cheaper, to buy olive wood carvings from Bethlehem (nativity scenes, rosaries, crosses, etc.) due to in part to their availability on the internet--a boon not just for consumers but for the woodcarvers as well. And as an AP report by Sarah El Deeb explains, "Bethlehem's woodcarvers are getting another unexpected boost: cheap olive wood from the construction of Israel's controversial West Bank separation barrier. Thousands of olive trees have been uprooted to make way for the barrier, creating an abundance that has driven the price from $260 to $195 per ton, carvers said."

Who would have thought that Israel's construction of the apartheid wall (shown above, with Christmas pilgrims passing through) could have such positive benefits for producers and consumers?

There is, however, a downside, as El Deeb explains, "the barrier is creating new hardships for Bethlehem, cutting off many people from farmlands and defacing the landscape that draws tourists."

But does that really matter, as long as we can still buy our Christmas creches and our rosaries, made from authentic Holy Land olive wood?

Merry Christmas!

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