In fact, it was a testimony to the ideology of the Israeli state, that the entire northern area of Bethlehem (a Christian and Muslim Palestinian city) was closed to 'provide security for worshippers' as one soldier told me. This is only a temporary problem however, next year the issue will have been 'solved' permanently.
Now, on a slightly different topic. Some on the Colonial- Israeli side argue that the Apartheid Wall is necessary to protect Israel from terrorist attack. In reality this has some truth to it, but lacks detail. By 'Israel' they also mean the illegal Israeli settlements which have been condemned by the international community, the United Nations and numerous Human rights organizations including the Israeli group Bet Selem. In order to do this, the wall must cut deep into what is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory.
To further demonstrate their utter contempt for international law and the human rights of Palestinians, the wall also cuts deep into northern Bethlehem itself, providing a tunnel and what can only be described as a large box, around Rachel's tomb. Also included in this box are the houses of many Palestinians. See map below.
Map courtesy of ARIJ.
Now, there may be some people out there (who don’t believe in international law) that think that the settlements should remain. I know this view exists. However, to isolate an area of a community (residences marked in pink on the map) so that the owners will eventually have to leave, in what is in effect a slow act of ethnic cleansing, just to guarantee that Jewish people remain the exclusive owners of a religious monument (which should belong to everybody) is frankly sickening.
The following photos show the construction of this mini-ghetto as it is taking place. I could write a Five Thousand Word essay on the many ways in which this construction demonstrates Israel's complete and total contempt for any form of peace agreement, or the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, but I will let the photos do most of the talking. Remember when viewing these photos – NO JEWISH PEOPLE LIVE IN THIS AREA WHATSOEVER!
Construction of the box is not yet finished. This makes these pictures quite unique. One month ago, none of these wall segments existed. In one month's time most of the gaps through which the photos are taken will be sealed.
Even when I tried to dispassionately analyze this photo, I could not arrive at any logic answer whatsoever – even from a military strategic point of view. Surely if they didn’t want anyone climbing the tree they would have just cut it down? Is it just an extremely morbid impression of the statue of Liberty? I genuinely couldn't work it out.
Now, look at the shot above closely. (note that you can still see past the houses on the other side to the scenery beyond.) The houses to the left will be left out the box, the houses and businesses to the right will be blocked in. That's how life works if you are Palestinian - the arbitrary whim of some Israeli construction surveyor can dictate the fate of your home permanently. In other countries at least people get compensation.
This shot - of the same houses – was taken three days later.
This shot is of the same house from the front….
…Three days later.On Rachel's day, as I mentioned earlier, the whole of northern Bethlehem was closed. Some higher-up security figures were probably disappointed to hear that the construction of the (Israeli only) wall tunnel, which would bring worshippers into the box, was not yet complete. Whilst the people of Bethlehem sat in their prison, thousands of Orthodox Israelis gathered at the gates of the city to worship Rachel in their stolen territory.
I may be naïve, but I simply do not understand how they believe this is acceptable. I don't hate them; I just wish they would tell me why. Many Palestinians would also like the same question to be answered.
Finally, at the wall gate itself, the long anticipated steel ghetto doors have arrived and are awaiting placement. I will try to keep you up to date.
To all moderate Israelis out there, you know the security argument is bollocks, especially in the light of the above evidence. The government is using your fear of terrorism to carry out these disgusting projects, such as the one documented above.
It is your duty and your moral obligation to do something about this. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem, and if you're reading this blog in the first place, you must already have some nagging doubts. Listen to them.