Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman (Mazmuria), Sheikh Saed, Thu 21.7.11, Afternoon
From 14:30 till 17:30
The presence of guests shows us details which we no longer notice; the condition of the road connecting Har Homa with the area of Nokdim (which is unique among the roads in the West bank). The name given to that area, “East Gush Etzion” (what relationship does it have to Gush Etzion?); the unbelievable length of the Efrat settlement.
Nuaman CP: at the Mazmoriya (Nuaman) CP we told the soldier that we wanted to proceed to Nuaman, he only shrugged his shoulders and there was no problem getting into this sad village. There was no one around, from far we saw a young girl playing in the yard of her house. We noticed that two more ruins had been renovated and became homes (even if construction is not allowed, apparently renovation is possible). In the center of the village a kind of tower has been erected with loudspeakers at the top (to spoil the rest of the residents of neighboring Har Homa?). We continued through the pastoral landscape of the Palestinian villages and turned right towards Efrat and Gush Etzion proper.
Etzion DCL: at the parking lot of the DCL were three or four vehicles. In the waiting room was only one man who didn’t speak Hebrew nor English and we were unable to find out what he was doing there. What a difference from the situation on Mondays. Is it really not possible to control the pressure and amount of people there? There was no point is staying there, we only explained to our guests what purpose the DCL serves and how it works (or not).
We returned to the North and entered the construction site of Elazar just at the time when the workers wind their way at the end of the day on a dirt path to get home without entering the settlement which they build but are not allowed to enter. On the hill across we again saw the beginning of the construction of the new Netser settlement. It is again amazing to watch how we continue settling the West Bank and create a reality which makes the establishment of a Palestinian state - which our leaders continue to proclaim they intend to found and "cannot, only because of them" – not feasible.
Bethlehem– Checkpoint 300: we continued to CP 300 and on the way entered the Rachel Tomb enclave. The place looks increasingly unreal; a huge kitschy painting shows the place how it used to be in bright colors next to it a place to light candles, like at the Makhpela Cave. Beyond the huge wall appear some Bethlehem houses, some of which just look imprisoned, since cameras are pointing to their windows all hours of the day.
At CP 300 the Palestinians cross fast, they are no longer checked at the windows, only one of which serves those who enter Jerusalem. And armed soldiers no longer patrol above. That’s now the routine.