This is from the Mennonite Central Committee, Palestine:
With all of the hardships and tragedies facing the human experience today, it is quite normal for us to hold on to any glimmer of hope or optimism that comes our way. This is especially true here, under the umbrella of fear and death that casts a shadow over much of life in Palestine / Israel. Thus much has been said about the windows of opportunity and the growing optimism of "truces," "peace processes," and burgeoning "democracies."
This sense of optimism rests easily in the calm homes of the Global North. But unfortunately, that optimism suffers a very short half-life here under occupation. One needs only attempt the short journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem - a six-mile or ten-kilometer distance - to learn the misplaced nature of this optimism. For as soon as you make your way to Bethlehem, you must first face the main checkpoint guarding the entrance to the "little town," where chances are you will notice lines of Palestinian men being detained on the side of the road for trying to get to their places of employment outside of Bethlehem.
But what is most striking is the "Wall." Standing about eight meters or twenty-five feet high, the "Separation" or "Apartheid" Wall has recently grown at a considerable pace around Bethlehem, now almost complete, imprisoning this Palestinian community here.
It is difficult to communicate just how impacting this sight is when entering Bethlehem, face-to-face with this monstrosity of concrete. "Disturbing" does not quite describe it. "Sad" also falls short. "Heart-breaking" is a little more appropriate, tying to capture all of the visceral responses to this visual trauma. It is against this Wall that any semblance of optimism for many in this land has been shattered.