Bethlehem, Nuaman, Mon 14.4.08, Afternoon
Yael I., Ruth O, Orit Y., Ilana D. (reporting)
From 3:00 till 6:30 PM
Nuaman: We drove to the CP hoping to be able to see the Mukhtar and ask him how we can be of assistance. We saw a herd of sheep grazing the thistles in the middle of the traffic circle just beyond the CP. The Mukhtar was not home and we promised to return later.
On this boiling hot Hamsin day it was nice and cool inside the Rachel Terminal at 4:00 PM; five windows were open and hardly any people waiting. Two yellow roses were blooming in the garden outside. A group of Polish tourists exited. The civil security guard checked their passports next to the turnstiles. Ten minutes later the crowds came running in, but the wait was short and apparently this is the pattern most of the days. However, when we asked how long the wait in the morning had been we were told that it was two hours. With more groups (more Polish and Brazilian tourists) coming in, the guard in charge of order again decided to check passports rather than put workers in straight lines and the queues moved smoothly nevertheless.
In the metal shack, 100 yards further north, ten detainees caught in Gilo, had been waiting for four hours to be investigated prior to their being sent back home or to prison. As we were observing the Border Police (BP) soldiers completing their forms another vehicle with four or five detainees dropped off the yield of its hunt for the day. The investigator came to see how things proceeded outside where the forms were completed. We asked for water, it looked yellowish and some men refused to drink it.
Back in Nuaman we were invited (with cold water and coffee) into the large living room of the Mukhtar, Youssef Darauwe. He was expecting Lea Tsemel and some men had already convened for a meeting with her. He explained to us the difficult situation of the village with its 25 families (around 400 people) who do not want to budge from their land. Some of the houses obviously were there before 1967. The first inhabitants had lived in caves there. About a third of the inhabitants have blue Id's; their children can attend schools in Um Tuba. The others have to go to El-Has, a walk of about 3 km. At the CP they are sometimes harassed, although the situation has improved since cameras were installed. He requested we pay attention to the fact that girl soldiers and not men, check the women and asked for our presence at around 1:30 when the children return from school. Those studying within Jerusalem now have a bus. He said that about 40 of the inhabitants had completed University Studies, mostly in Abu Dis or Bethlehem. The work situation is difficult especially for those in possession of Palestinian Id's. The Mukhtar himself, married to an Israeli, has a permit, which has to be renewed every three months. He has good relations with the commander of the CP, but he is not always there when the soldiers misbehave. He related the story of a wedding between a girl from Nuaman and a boy from El Has, where the parents of the groom were not allowed to attend and enter Nuaman, whereupon in the middle of the ceremony, the bride and the entire entourage walked over to El Has. The whole world, every ambassador and journalist, knows of the plight of Nuaman, but no one does anything, he said.