Bethlehem, Nuaman (Mazmuria), Wed 5.5.10, Afternoon

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Ruth O., Orit Y., Ilana D. (reporting)

From 2:30 till 5:30 PM, Nuaman (Mazmuria): the soldiers at the Mazmuria CP had no idea who we were, nor did they understand why we might want to enter Nuaman, but they had no objection and the gate was open. We didn’t see a soul in the village, but noted that much more land has been cultivated. There were some children playing in the playground built by Taayush who greeted us happily. Suddenly from the house of the Mukhtara voice shouted at us asking us what we were doing.

The Mukhtar's son came out and told us he thought we were one of those real estate sharks who have been coming to ‘inspect’ the premises lately. They act as if they own the place and frighten the children because they drive dangerously. He was told to report these instances and the number plates of the cars.

Before we reached Efrata we took what looked like a circular road around it to the right, well paved and empty. It stopped before the northern entrance of the settlement where a number of cars with Palestinians number plates were parked and we had to turn back. We also inspected the massive construction and earth moving going on in the Elazar settlement where the new houses are growing steadily and heavy equipment is used to prepare the land for additional apartment buildings in the ‘Gush Katif’ area.

Wallaje: We reached Wallaje via the Beit Jalla Road and saw how the vast track of land is being deforested and flattened. Near the house of our elderly friend A. red markings and blue ribbons indicate how many more olive trees (and the graves of his parents) will be sacrificed to ensure the security of Israel. We went to his house and learned that the markings had been placed that morning, despite the fact that a polite Druze officer had some days ago promised that the graves would be taken into consideration.  A’s brother, the journalist from Beit Jallah had come to inspect the future damage. Nir Hasson the Ha'aretz correspondent who had reported on the issue had promised to come and visit, bu thad not yet been there. We suggested we ask him to come along with us next week. We didn’t stay for coffee and left under heavy protest.

Off to the house of the younger A. whom we had not told that we were coming and therefore didn’t meet him at home. Fortunately he was at work. He does not have a steady job.   We saw that a new house has materialized very close to his, much to the regret of A’s wife who had become used to the peace and quiet and now feels threatened by the proximity of A’s cousin with whom he doesn’t get along too well. She told us that a demonstration had been planned for the next morning (Thursday), but that she would not participate, although she sympathizes – she is afraid and for good reason. The young boy from the village has been released. The entire incident had been an accident, he had slipped and fallen on top of a soldier who had prompted the soldiers to beat him up with their rifle butts and spray gas into his eyes. But, said F, he should have been in school and not at the demonstration in the first place, which of course doesn’t justify the way he was treated. His parents intend to go to court on his behalf.