Sarah meets Sara
Photo: Amos Ben Gershon, GPO
Sarah Palin at Western Wall
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Palin U-turns before entering Bethlehem

US politician backtracks before West Bank checkpoint, returns to Jerusalem. Defense Ministry claims Palin failed to request entry permission

The 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night and wrote an emotional greeting in his guestbook. However, her tour to the West Bank city of Bethlehem was canceled unexpectedly.


British media reports claim Palin was making her way to the city when suddenly her vehicle, approaching the checkpoint, stopped for a few moments and then turned back towards Jerusalem.


Palin and husband Todd in Jerusalem (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


According to British newspaper The Guardian, Palin was accompanied by her husband Todd, her assistant as well as Israeli tour guides. Photographers on the scene said no one got out of the car to talk to Border Guard soldiers manning the checkpoint.


IDF officials refused to explain why Palin backtracked and did not enter Bethlehem, however Defense Ministry officials claim the US politician neglected to submit a formal request to tour the West Bank, despite it being standard procedure for any foreign dignitary.


The Daily Telegraph hinted that Palin was not aware of the fact that Bethlehem is not Israeli territory, saying this is a common mistake amongst foreign tourists but not amongst politicians.


Instead of the planned tour, Palin and her entourage visited a nearby monastery and toured the city of Jerusalem, after which she and her husband met with the PM and his wife, Sara.


Double date (Photo: Amos Ben Gershon, GPO)


The US politician showed the Netanyahus her new Star of David necklace she had purchased during her visit and mentioned she was extremely happy to see the Purim parades and the festive holiday colors.


Palin signed the prime minister’s residence guestbook before leaving: “Such an amazing country! God bless you. May our connection continue to grow and strengthen.”


Earlier this week, Palin, a potential candidate for the 2012 US presidential elections, landed in Israel and toured the Western Wall accompanied by Knesset Member Danny Danon (Likud).


"Israel is absolutely beautiful and it is overwhelming to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith and I am so grateful to get to be here," Palin told reporters. "I'm very thankful to know that the Israeli and American link will grow in strength as we seek peace along with you," Palin said.


Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 03.22.11, 13:06
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