Tuesday, April 03, 2018

More on the de-mining of Qasr Al-Yahud

PILGRIMAGE MINEFIELD: Clearing Land Mines From the Spot Where Jesus Is Said to Have Been Baptized (Isabel Kershner, New York Times). Belatedly for Easter, sort of.
Now, in an effort to rehabilitate and open up the rest of the site, the Halo Trust, a British-American mine clearance charity, has begun a mine-clearing operation with the cooperation of the Israeli National Mine Action Authority, working under Israel’s Ministry of Defense, and the Palestinian Mine Action Center under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.

The project is being jointly funded by the Ministry Defense and Halo, which has raised more than $1 million so far, and it will probably take at least a year.

Despite the political awkwardness of working in occupied territory, the Palestinians and Israelis share an interest in promoting Christian tourism. Both Israel and the West Bank boast major Christian sites like Nazareth and Bethlehem, and the pilgrim trade is lucrative.
I have been following this story for a while, but this New York Times piece covers it in considerable detail and is worth a read. Qasr Al-Yahud is one possible site for the baptism of Jesus. Despite the current danger, it is an increasingly popular pilgrimage site and tourist attraction.

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