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General: I assume that most of you are aware of the fact that lately, the Israeli media has almost stopped covering the ongoing IDF atrocities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, despite ongoing (daily) killings, home demolitions, curfew, etc., etc.. Haaretz daily is no different, and at times, so I suspect, is even leading the trend. What is even more outraging, however, is the degree of mis or dis-information prevalent in those increasingly rare reports which do enter the press. One conspicuous example was last Thursday's report by Arnon Reguler on house demolitions; As a supplement to an item concerning an exceptional case of demolition which was stopped while in process (that of the Doha (near Beit-Jala) home of the (now dead) head master of Zuhur al-Amal school, and well connected peace activist) due to intervention of the American Consulate, Regular added some supposedly comparative statistics on house demolitions during the second Intifada. Believe it or not, the figure specified for the total number of homes demolished since October 2000 was 106. Only two days earlier I happened to read a report in al-Ayyam (Tuesday, December 17th) on the situation in Jenin refugee camp, where 400 houses - more specifically 800 housing units, the homes of 800 families - were completely destroyed during the first invasion (Defense Shield - April 2002), during which time hundreds of additional houses suffered severe damage, and where dozens of houses were hit (some demolished) during the following months. While donor money for the rebuilding of homes has been transferred to UNRWA, the reconstruction has not begun yet, and the families are currently either renting flats in Jenin (supported by the camp's emergency committee), or living in tents provided by the UN (sorry for this longish commentary of mine - but to my mind the film "Jenin Jenin", perhaps because it was filmed in a hurry, very shortly after the first stage in the major military assault ended, underestimates the extent of destruction in the camp). Close to 1000 houses were completely or partially destroyed in Nablus during that invasion.In Rafah and Khan Yunis many hundreds of houses were completely erased (bulldozed) since October 2000, and thousands others were partially or nearly wholly destroyed by tank shelling and missiles, and on top of all this, there is the now routine dynamiting of homes all over the territories. So this shameless report on 106 homes, when figures are in the thousands (probably between three and four thousands), cries for some organized response.Bethlehem news - last week i reported here that the curfew regime which was imposed for more than three straight weeks (November 22nd, December 14th), underwent some change, when curfew was lifted between 8 AM and 4 PM on Saturday and Sunday, December 15th and 16th. This "easing" (hakalot) remained in force on Monday (December 16th), but then full curfew was re-imposed again on Tuesday through Thursday. Since last Friday (the 20th) curfew has been lifted during the day (8 AM to 5 PM), and today, Christmas Eve, is expected to be a curfew-free day (Israel respects religious worship, as we all know). All in all the town and environs have now lost another entire month of social and economic activity, during which all institutions did not operate.Our ShiftArriving at Etzion checkpoint at around 7.15 AM, we were soon to find an incremental positive change, in comparison with last week. The arrangement according to which Palestinian busses with special permits from the Civil Administration can travel from Halhul to Al-Khader, without entering any Palestinian locales on their way and subjected to military checks at several checkpoints, is still in force, but at least one obstacle has been lifted. As of sometime last week, movement of passengers from the Hebron to the Bethlehem district is no longer conditioned upon carrying valid permits to work in Israel or in the settlements. This implies that the very short ride (approximately 20 KM) is still interrupted by at least two checks (one at Beit Omar checkpoint, the other at Etzion), and some times by a third one (at al-Arroub refugee camp), and of course a check awaits those who finally arrive at al-Khader roadblocks, but the checks are relatively shorter, and people are not sent back. During the approximately one hour we spent at Etzion we noticed, however, that the total volume of traffic in the direction of Bethlehem was small, which is most probably indicative of the cumulative impact of the curfew regime in the Bethlehem region (with economic and institutional activities there being all but completely paralyzed), and also - as we were told - of the confusion among residents of the Hebron district as to whether or not curfew will be lifted in Bethlehem on that specific morning. The officer who last week approached almost all passengers seeking to cross with a "ruh" (piss off) was fortunately absent this Sunday, and the soldiers in charge were surprisingly non aggressive and even well behaved. They conducted the checks quickly and did not make a fuss over the luggage (in these days one has to be thankful for acts of harassment which were not committed, rather than to look for genuine good deeds). The passengers, however, appeared desperate and gloomy and by now indifferent to this or that modification in their plight. As often occurs, they teased us about the "human rights" on our tags, wondering whether they still possess a single right that has not been violated. Reaching al-Khadr junction approx. 8.15, this time we left the car at some distance, near one of the 'neighboring' unmanned roadblocks that block the western entrance to Husan village, so as to avoid soldiers' intervention. From there we walked directly to the al-Khader schools' compound without being noticed by the soldiers. The "reunion" with our - by now quite a number of - acquaintances there left us with mixed impressions and feelings. While it was comforting to learn that the schools have the capacity to resume activities after such a long and disturbing break (one month of curfew), the destructive long term impacts of the ongoing closureinfo-icon policy and intermittently imposed curfew regime can be noticed and sensed everywhere. Many boy students were absent this Sunday, as we were told by the counselor (Dhib Najajra), and as we could see for our selves when all gathered in the courtyard for the brief morning "sports" session. Najajra says that many have not yet adjusted themselves to the return to school life - absence is only one consequences among others, which include what he described as an increased disinterest in or indifference to studying. The imposed interruptions of the school year, say Najajra and other school teachers, have increased and deepened doubts, especially among the youth, concerning the benefit and value of learning; ongoing instability and uncertainty regarding the near and far future affect the children very strongly, leading to nervousness, at times violence, and/or as noted - to growing indifference and loss of faith. At both the boys' and girls' schools we learned that during the month of curfew special study sessions were organized for Tawjihi students (12th graders taking their matriculation examinations this coming summer) either at private homes, or in mosques, clubs and other centers, in order to compensate for the cumulating loss. It was hard to gather, however, how serious were these attempts, and how many students actually managed to attend. Non-Tawjihi students did not receive any "compensation", however, and our now lagging behind in the material. Regardless of this situation, which is common throughout the West Bank, (and following decisions (Ministry of Education, and UNRWA's education department) that I have not inquired into, and are quite beyond my understanding) as of this Monday all students (in the district and Palestine- wide) are sitting for their mid- year exams; that is they have moved directly from curfew regime to an exams' schedule...