Bethlehem, Mon 8.12.08, Afternoon

Yael I. Ruth O. (Reporting)



14.00 – 16.30 PM, Bethlehem Checkpoint:  Since one of us did not feel so well we decided to shorten our stay and only pay a holiday visit to A',  one of our "captive" friends in Wallag.
A' was formerly a well known contractor in Jerusalem. For some years now he does not work and can not enter Jerusalem. He has a large family and almost all family members dwell under his roof. The house was to be enlarged about four years ago, in order to accommodate all his off springs. But only the first floor that existed before is complete. The other floors stand untouched because there is no money to complete the project. It seems the family lives in great crowdedness. A' was not at home, he was visiting his niece who lives in Bethjalla. We were welcomed by A's wife, four of his sons and a daughter.  We were pleased to be able to chat with the sons. All speak fluent Hebrew since they too used to work in Jerusalem, one as an electrician. They also are not allowed into Israel, only here and there they get some chance work for very low wages in or around Bethlehem. "People have no money to pay, they try to do their best, but you can not make a living from that". Three of the sons have applied for a Canadian immigration visa.A' himself started to cultivate his land, some vegetables, a few fruit trees, and a group of beehives. The fruit and vegetables are for the family's consumption, the honey is being sold in the neighborhood.We learnt from the young men that recently there is no activity aimed at a status change of the village. Up to about a year ago there were talks about demolition of houses that were built illegally (Who would give permission for such building?). Also the discussions about the lands of the village, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian have stopped for now. After an hour and a half we left and promised to return soon when A' will be at home.On our way out we saw again the new houses being built in Har Gilo shadowing over the village.