Tue 8.6.10, Afternoon

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Yael I., Orit Y, Ilana D. (reporting)

Bethlehem Area

From 2:00 till 4:30 PM

Wallage: this morning the bulldozers overturned eighty olive trees and a number of other fruit trees, such as apricots, peaches and nut trees of our friend A. Yesterday the army had come to ‘sit' with him and told him that they would do their best to minimize the damage.

As we descended we noted that the road towards his house was totally damaged. The bulldozer had entered into a cave, which collapsed taking half the road above it with it. A gorgeous tall cypress lay felled on the ground and half a dozen small trunks of olive trees had been put in the ground next to the road. It is clear that they will not survive the ordeal in the middle of the summer, despite empty promises that they would be moved to a spot with new earth and be watered. A. was also promised that the graves of his family would be spared, but there location will be on the other side of the wall and he doesn't believe in a promise that a special gate will give him access to the family cemetery. He had told the men of the Ministry of Defense yesterday that they were the conquerors and that he under the occupation had no rights and could not even raise his voice to claim his own prioperty. Only the graves could not be touched, since his lawyer had obtained a High Court injunction to leave them in tact.

When we entered Wallage we were met with a new Checkpoint - two soldiers with drawn rifles, secured by a few more soldiers, also with drawn rifles above the road asked for our documents, but let us through when they realized we belonged to MW.  We saw a lot of heavy equipment on the way down along the new route of the wall and were not quite sure what it is used for. We had come to deliver an avocado tree which had been promised him a long time ago - a sad compensation.

We felt as if we had come to pay a condolence visit while A. recounted the events of the day.

Many soldiers and policemen had arrived early in the morning to make sure the uprooting went according to plan. Some village youth and also a number of Israelis had come to protest; also the press and TV had arrived. However, A. told everyone to keep quiet and the bulldozers were able to wreck the landscape in peace and quiet. They had left just about an hour before our arrival. A's brother from Beit Jalla was there with him and then neighbors came to pay their respects. One of them lives in the house at the end of the road, which will be enclosed by a fence, and only through a sleeveinfo-icon will he be able to reach the rest of the village. His children will grow up in a cage. The amount of dust around his place is indescribable - his kids leave for school in the morning and after they come home, they can no longer leave the house, because of the dust. He told us that residents in neighboring Har Gilo had also complained about the dust, so the contractor now makes sure to spray water to avoid the dust clouds there, but when he had complained he was told that he could leave, if he didn't like it.

A.'s brother told us that his Russian wife needed an operation last week and had been denied entrance into Jerusalem for the scheduled procedure at the Mokassed hospital on security grounds. We promised to find out what she had to do in order to be treated.