Al-Jab’a: a Village in Limbo

20 May 2010

From Robert B.

Al Jab’a, a village of 700 people, sits in the path of a section of the apartheid wall which Israel has scheduled for construction at a future stage. It lies south west of Bethlehem, just one kilometre from the 1967 Green Line – inside the Palestinian West Bank.
From the hillsideone can see, not too far distant, the colony/settlements of Bat Ayn, Betar Ellit, Nahal Gavot and the monstrous Gush Etzion, all built on Palestinian land. It is no wonder that the people feel that their future is precarious.

Present-day life is hard enough. For anything but the most basic necessities villagers rely on shops in the neighbouring town of Surif. In 2000 the Israeli authorities blocked off the road connecting the two centres, in what we in Australia would call an act of sheer bastardry.* Now the people of Al Jabá must walk the 400 metres from their village along a track to where taxis wait to take them to and from Surif. On their return trip, laden with anything from gas cylinders to groceries and household supplies, they must once again negotiate the track. If The Wall is completed as planned, Al-Jab’a will end up on the “Israeli side” of the Wall, separated further from critical facilities in Surif.

*Question: why would the Israelis do this?
Answer: to make life difficult, if not impossible, for the people of Al Jabá.

Question: how can the Israelis get away with it?
Answer: because we in the West do nothing.

On the day we were there we found two small children (see photo) crying inconsolably as they waited in the sun for their father, who was struggling up the steep track, laden down with some of life’s necessities for his family. This is the face of the Occupation.