Beit Jala: Finalizing the Isolation
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Beit Jala: Finalizing the Isolation

Two days ago the Occupation forces started works at Beit Jala to complete a new phase of the Wall on the village land. The bulldozers are currently working near the “tunnel road” – the apartheid road that connects the settlement blocks in the southern part of the West Bank with Jerusalem.

***image2***According to the representative of the Bait Jala municipality the works are proceeding with incredible speed. The Occupation started uprooting the olive trees in the large swathe of land along the wall’s path a long time ago. Some of the olive trees were more than 100 years old. Under the protection of the military they are now erecting the cement blocks of the Apartheid Wall.

According to the municipality, the Wall will isolate 6000 dunums from Beit Jala, including Cremisan where two ancient monasteries are located. Further, it isolates the al-Mahrur area, the agricultural region that extends from Beit Jala to al-Khader. Many buildings in Beit Jala will end up just metres away from the Wall.

The municipality representative explained:
“The wall is a real catastrophe for Beit Jala. Not only did they confiscate the agricultural land which was the main income for the people, the spaces for future development of the city and enlargement of the built up areas are all confiscated behind the Wall. Finally, it cuts the historical relation between Beit Jala and Jerusalem.”

Two years ago, the Occupation completed two parts of the Wall around Beit Jala. The first part reaches from Rahel Tomb to the tunnel area. The second section runs from the top of Beit Jala to the Har Gilo settlement. There the roads and Zionist settler infrastructure are already in place, and will be finalized with the new part being constructed the Wall from Bethlehem until south of Beit Jala.

In Beit Jala, as in many other places of the West Bank, the Occupation has implemented a strategy of “phased construction”. They start to destroy the land, then they stop for some months or a year and only then the do they return with their bulldozers to build the Wall. This “gradual isolation” is an attempt to keep protest low and achieving an effect of adjustment every time before the next stage comes.