Russian President Vladimir Putin has confessed himself “at a loss” after finding out, during a two-day visit to the Middle East, that a street in Bethlehem was being renamed in his honor.
Mahmoud Abbas, the head of what’s known as the Palestinian Authority, told Putin today that the mayor of Bethlehem had apparently been seized by inspiration to rename a street in that same town of Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus Christ) after the Russian leader, who is well-known these days for having severely contracted whatever democratic freedoms had managed to sprout in post-Soviet Russia.
I agree with Putin to this extent: I am also at a loss.
On the other hand, it’s not that complicated. At a time of volatile brinkmanship in the Middle East, those who rule at the moment in the Palestinian territories seek to ingratiate themselves with one of the key global players. What’s the price of a street in Bethlehem? I guess we just found out.