Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman (Mazmuria), Wed 7.7.10, Afternoon
14.30 – 18.30
We wanted to show our guest, who is not acquainted with the complexity of life in the occupied territories, as much as possible, starting in Wallage where the work of building the new wall is progressing in an unbelievable pace. The whole route of the wall can be seen from far away; a wide wound in the rural landscape is dividing the village in two. In certain parts one can see a fence and the scaffolding where the concrete for the wall will be poured into. The large and fancy new houses of the nearby settlement of Har Gilo, make a terrible contrast to the sad circumstances of the village.
We drove on the newly paved road along Beit Jalla and looked from above at the enormous, cold and alienated car checkpoint across the road from a pastorally farmed landscape.
Through the tunnels and via Har Homa we drove to Nuaman. The commander of the checkpoint there was worried by our request to enter the village and asked us whether we have been there before. When we replied positively he made us promise that we know this is our own responsibility. The village was as sleepy as always and no one was seen out side. The houses of Har Homa hover from above and seem to threaten the very existence of Nuaman.
We continued along the "Lieberman road" all the way back to route 60 and from there to the Etzion DCL. There was not a single car in the parking lot and no one in the waiting hall. A few minutes later a man in quest of a permit came in. The window was deserted and only after a few shouts from us a friendly soldier, who even spoke Arabic, arrived. A few more people came in and the sight of the swinging gate, the armored glass window, where the Palestinians have to bend in order to talk to the soldier behind it, astonished and depressed our guest (have we gotten used to the sight?).
From there via the Hussan road to Beitar Ilit, what a strange country this is! The building goes on and the town grows and takes on an enormous size.
At the Bethlehem CP only two windows functioned. A few minutes after our arrival the lines became very long. We asked the civilian guard if a third window could not be opened. His very unfriendly answer was that no one can man another window since this is their meal break (at 17.30? do they all have to eat at the same time? Does it have to be exactly when most workers are on their way home after work?). In contrast to the unpleasant behavior of the civilian guard, out came a police officer who smiled in a friendly way to every body in the line and quickly helped examine their papers on the way out. The line dissipated within a few minutes.