And the wall grows

I went back to Walaja twice this winter. The second time was to show some friends that old olive tree I posted about last time. Its a walk I’ve done a few times, but this go around I got almost totally lost.

I went back to Walaja twice this winter. The second time was to show some friends that old olive tree I posted about last time. Its a walk I’ve done a few times, but this go around I got almost totally lost.
The wee dirt path that I had followed in times past was now a four-meter-wide three-meter-deep gouge into the hill face.
Oh, if you didn’t know, Walaja is the latest site of construction for Israel’s wall. Yes, its still being built. No, its not really for security. The shepherds that cross this hill today and will not be able to cross it tomorrow are not terrorists. They are Palestinians.
Anyway.
In looking for the tree my point of reference had always been these two old agricultural buildings just down the hill. When I went back this time, I didn’t recognize them.

I’m not sure if it was because the hill on which I was walking had been excavated, or that the winding path I had followed earlier was gone, so the approach was altered…. or perhaps that I was distracted by the rather ominous scaffolding that would soon become part of the retaining wall so the earth above it could hold concrete slabs eight meters high.

I took the picture on the top left during my first visit to Walaja in the spring of 2009. I had been struck by the tranquil beauty of the place. While sifting through the old photos, I found this video of the hillside. It gets a bit fuzzy at the end, but its a decent reference point when looking at the rest of the images below, which are going to be from my second and third visits to Walaja, when the wall started to be built there.
Anyway, you get the idea. Birds chirping, anemones and wild flowers growing underfoot, the smell of fresh earth and all that…
I’m going to try and keep commentary short on this one. I think the pictures really do justice to the uglyness of this wall project. Not to mention the human dimension of it.
One of my friends on the latest walk mentioned how she feels guilty throwing away a coke can in Bethlehem because there is no recycling program. She said it while looking down on the major work of construction that is this wall. Quelle waste.
On to the pics.
These two are of about the same section of hill (the second one is a bit further down) the first in July 2011, the second in February 2012… that’s 7 months for those counting.

The next one is around the corner of the hill, looking back on the most recently completed section of containing wall.

Here’s the tree. Its still there, the pic below has its far right hand side in the frame. The wall is going to pass about 30 meters in front of it, just where those cars are.

And that’s where its going. Ick.

 

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