Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nuaman, Mon 25.2.08, Afternoon
It was a beautiful day and we remembered our walks of last year
through the rubble when the almond trees were blossoming. Therefore we
wanted again to find out in what way we might be able to visit this
pastoral village. The soldier at the CP under the village first
wondered why we wanted to go there – 'they are all Arabs'. Then asked
the commander who after some deliberation with his superiors told us
that we were not allowed to park in or around the CP since this
'military zone' has to remain 'sterile'. However we were allowed to
drive up, just like the UN and other vehicles with special permission
on the road just past the CP, which is not paved and located next to
the security road. We parked right at the entrance to the village and
strolled along the road, enjoying the blossoming trees, the peace and
quiet. Two girls were on their way home from their school in Khas.
Apart from them not a soul was outside, only some sheep in a yard – we
also saw a shepherd down in the valley with his flock. A large
hothouse with plastic sheeting has been erected in one of the fields.
There were two cars parked in the village with yellow number plates.
Finally we saw two men who stopped to chat with us. Everyone is free
to enter Bethlehem; the entry to Jerusalem is of course only possible
with the necessary permits. The work situation is very bad indeed.
We continued via the Herodiyon to the Etzion DCL which was, as
expected empty except for a couple of young men who were waiting to
talk to a 'captain'. As we entered the car a hailstorm started and on
our way back to Jerusalem we could hardly see anything and for once
enjoyed the tunnels where the view was so much better than on the
road. Probably due to the hail no soldiers stood outside to check the
busses across from the entrance to Tantur.
As we approached the Rachel Passage the storm intensified and we
watched the proceedings from the car. People were running in record
speed from the busses into the Terminal and then through the cages
(which are not covered) towards the exit on the other side. We spotted
only one person with an umbrella (probably a tourist). Fortunately
even though it must have been crowded at times no one was left outside
in the torrential rains.