Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Mon 24.3.08, Afternoon

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Ruth O and Ilana D. (reporting)

From 3:00 till 6:00 PM

DCL Etzion, Wallaje and CP 300

A hot day. There was not a single car parked in the Etzion DCL, the toilets were not smelly – no wonder, there was not a soul around which was more than a little surprising after a whole week of closureinfo-icon. We walked around to the soldier on guard to find out whether anyone was waiting for a Captain; he told us between telephone calls to move away from the gate. We left. Apparently everything is now being dealt with at the Bethlehm DCO and we wondered whether we could possibly visit there.

In Wallaje our friend A. has been tilling the soil of his land, partly because he has to feed his family and partly to keep busy. He used to be a well-established contractor in Jerusalem and has been eating up his savings for the last couple of years. Three adult unemployed sons and the grandchildren live with the elderly couple in the unfinished extension of the family home. Some charitable organizations have provided him with seedlings and even some trees. He has the use of a tractor donated by the same organization to the village. Even with the rate he charges to work for the other villagers (20 Sh. an hour which hardly covers the fuel), he has no more than two hours work today, because no one has money. His older son who is a qualified electrician with experience sometimes makes 40 Sh. a day in Bethlehem, but there is not enough work for full employment. He told us that the renowned Benny Cohen has been after their lands again. He falsified purchase papers and apparently is very friendly with the Commander of the Jerusalem Envelope Amitay Levi. A. told us that a lawyer had been recommended by Meir Margalit, but apparently not much can be done. We promised to find out. He wants his children to immigrate to Canada and asked how to go about it; we would consult with the Canadian Embassy.

There was a long line of vehicles in the ‘apartheid’-lane of the Tunnel Checkpoint, but no detaineesinfo-icon.

We were late at CP 300 and arrived after the rush hour; people crossed quickly.