Bethlehem, Thu 23.6.11, Afternoon
Bethlehem Region - Visits to villages
From 3:00 till 6:00 PM
Har Gilo, Cremisan and Wallaje
It had been some time since the four of us were available together and therefore we decided to inspect Wallaje, the place of our special interest. We met the hundreds of construction workers in Har Gilo on their way home. At the entrance to Wallaje almost a real terminal for busses and transits has been formed to accommodate the Palestinian workers who enlarge this settlement - five minutes from the Malkha Mall, on a hill with good air and wonderful views, including the monstrous wall which is encapsulating Wallaje.
The road to Cremisan is as picturesque as ever, reminding us of Toscana. The friendly Hebrew speaking priest from Vicenza at the Monastery told us that even God doesn’t yet know what the future of the place will be (and where?).
Our elderly friend A. had received a one-day permit to attend a municipal planning committee meeting and was just on his way home when we arrived. He has not much hope re the future of Wallaje and his land part of which (including the gravesite of his parents) is cut off by the wall. Some of the trees that had not been uprooted had died because of the amount of dust. He told us that his wife had undergone a successful cataract operation at the St. John’s Hospital in Jerusalem and that the permit for their daughter to accompany her had arrived a day after the operation – we were not surprised. With the coffee we ate the fruit of his trees and then walked through his orchard and the vegetable garden which is tended by his children since they no longer can earn a living in Jerusalem. Unfortunately he is unable to sell some of the abundant apricots and plums, but we were given a few kilos each ‘to distribute’ among our friends and neighbors.
On the way back we saw an English couple with their hosts from Bethlehem who had come for the scenic walk from the Cremisan and were appalled at the sight of the gaping wound in the landscape in preparation of the wall. They were amazed to find that some Israelis actually are also of the opinion that this is dreadful. We noted that the road from the center of the village to the Cremisan is yet again blocked by boulders.