Bethlehem, Nuaman, Mon 26.11.07, Afternoon

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

From 1:00 till 6:00 PM
Wallaje, Lieberman Road and CP 300

 Wallaje: We went to see our friend Atta and his family and heard that tomorrw
representatives of the Ministry of the Interior are due in the village
together with the lawyer who collected most of the inhabitants' signatures
(and money) for applications to obtain blue Id. cards three years ago. The
issue of the request for blue Id's was discussed and the outcome doesn't
look too rosy. Atta explained to us with the help of maps the layout of the
village and the history of the various initiatives of the state and the
municipality. All works on the separation wall, which was about to be
erected between Har Giloh and Wallaje, have been stopped; there was no more
money. Atta was at home with a bad back and spent the time embroidering. We
were given some beautiful samples of his craft as gifts. Fortunately he has
been granted a work permit for the last couple of months, but at one point
was stopped at the first window when wanting to enter Jerusalem and told
that his entrance was denied on grounds of a refusal by the police. He tried
again at the third window and was let through. He wondered whether to call
the commander and to file a complaint re the behavior of the first soldier
about whom he had already heard many complaints, but decided that the better
part of wisdom would be to shut up and continue on his way to work.

He called his friend and neighbor Amin who had been released a week ago from
a five months' prison term. Unlike Atta and the other inhabitants of Ein
Jawaza (the lower part of the village, closest to Jerusalem), Amin had been
unable to pay the fine for the illegal construction of his home. Amin has
been unemployed and has been denied a work permit on security grounds for
the last nine years and therefore opted to serve a prison time instead of
paying the more than fifty monthly installments, which Atta and the others
had taken upon themselves. Amin talked of the harsh conditions of the
'security prisoners' and the fact that they were not allowed any benefits.
At one time, after three months, he was allowed a family visit, but it was
so horrible, short and inhuman that the remainder of his prison term would
have been more bearable without it. No one else in his family is denied
entrance into Israel, he too receives one-day passes when he has to appear
in Court and therefore he is aware that he does not constitute a REAL
security risk, but is only being harassed because the authorities know of
his deep involvement in the politics of the village and his connections with
left-wing groups and international organizations re the future of the lands
of Wallaje. He was told to approach Sylvia and Atta vowed to help him
financially in case he would need a lawyer. Meanwhile Amin, father of five
children, has only sporadic one-day jobs despite the fact that he used to
work regularly with a well-known contractor in Jerusalem who is willing to
take him back any time as soon as he can obtain a permit.

We drove through Har Giloh and saw the major construction works of large
villas carried out on the lands of Wallaje. Since we intend to visit Nueman
soon we took the newly opened "Liebermann Road" between Har Homa and
Herodiyon to see where we might park before proceeding on foot to Nueman
another time and decided to leave the car close to the huge checkpoint whose
construction is almost completed. At night it is lit up like an airport. We
drove through Kfar Eldad towards Kehilat Kodesh (the Holy Community of) Ma'aleh
Rekhav'am and spotted an uninterrupted chain of tiny hilltop settlements all
around Noqdim. On the way a sign led to the well-known concentration of
yellow autumn crocuses (khelmoniyot) – a spot frequented by tours of the
Etzion Field School.

At the Rachel Terminal (CP 300) two windows were open and the queue, held
back by the civilian security guard, was not longer than a few minutes.