Blog: Geraldo Rivera Reports From Israel
Check out Geraldo Rivera's blog from Israel below and tune in tomorrow for his special reporting on Geraldo At Large at 10p ET.
As I write this sitting in the outdoor coffee shop in Manger Square, opposite the almost 1,700 year old Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem, memories come flooding back of the violent 39 day long siege that desecrated this holy place where Jesus was born.
Reporting from the Square in 2002, I watched as that bloody incident ended only after eight Palestinian militants were killed and the rest sent into exile.
This weekend, over the vehement objection of Israel and the United States, who believe the decision is more political than cultural, UNESCO is declaring
the ancient church a World Heritage Site.
Fayad Salam, the U.S. Educated Palestinian Prime Minister, is presiding over the ceremony, which he and his fellow Palestinian hope, and Israeli's fear, will give impetus to the notion of Palestine as an independent state.
This incident is just one tiny chapter of the 65 year old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and, of course, Syria, this conflict is still the sorest point of contention between the U.S. and the Muslim world. It is the wound that won't heal.
But life goes on and an uneasy peace prevails. Here in Bethlehem, as in larger Ramallah and even in gritty Gaza City, Palestinians are living far more comfortably than they have been, despite being occupied territory. Israel also seems to be thriving.
As we have seen in our week of reporting and dozens of interviews on both sides of the nearly 500 mile long security wall separating Palestinians from Israelis, this perennially chaotic and violent region has settled into an uneasy peace that sets it apart from the anarchy of the Arab Spring.
Some believe it is just a temporary respite and that Palestinian frustration over the failed or at best stalled peace process will lead to another uprising, a Third Intifada. Even now, militants in Gaza lob rockets into nearby Israeli communities protected by the U.S. funded 'Iron Dome' anti-missile system, 163 last month alone. But there have been few Israeli casualties around Gaza. And no successful suicide bomber has crossed from the West Bank into Israel in over a year.
As I will report Sunday night at 10pm ET, what most concerns Israelis these days is the threat of a nuclear Iran; plus social issues like equality in the burden of military service between the ultra-religious who usually do not serve, and the ordinary Israelis who almost all do.
The special done with my brother Fox News correspondent Craig Rivera and producers Dana Rapoport and Greg Hart will also include interviews with high ranking officials on both sides of the so-called Green Line, and with Americans serving in the Israeli Armed Forces or living in the Palestinian territories.
It will be an action packed hour; don't miss it.