Having bowed to right-wing pressure, Israel's naming of two
emotionally charged West Bank shrines to their National Heritage list
has prompted Palestinian protests. The inclusion of Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs, which Muslims call the al-Ibrahimi
Mosque, was also condemned
by the U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, who said
the move "heightened tensions," a classic bit of diplomatic
understatement. We wonder: Does Israel do these things to intentionally spark, or in blithe disregard for, the outrage they must know will follow? And which is worse?
"We strongly condemn this
decision which yet again confirms the Israeli government's
determination to impose facts on the ground," said chief Palestinian
negotiator Saeb Erakat.
For a slideshow of the hard facts on the ground - Palestinian life in the shadow of Israeli settlements - go here.