An update on the path of the wall
These are almost exactly a year overdue. Taken August 2012, its the belated latest on the “progress” of the construction of the wall being built on the lands of the village of Walaja and beyond.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking, posted in reverse chronological order so the green beauty of the hills can stand solidly in our imaginations as the grey concrete grows.
The last post left off showing the hill where preliminary digging had begun. I’ll start on that same hill and go from first walk to last.
February 2012, a deep track had been gouged out of the hills.
August 2012, I’m standing on the other end of the hills looking backwards.
So the gash in the hills went from not there, to brown earth, to white stone. Each layer gradually carted away by bulldozers.
The right end of the last photo has the path of the wall run into the road to Jerusalem, the road that separates the Walaja hills from the Batir valley. If you feel like going on the oddest of hikes, follow the wall from the village of Walaja to the valley of Batir, then take the rather more pastoral dirt road through the Batir agricultural land back toward Beit Jala, just at the top of Bethlehem.
You start where the really ugly ten foot concrete wall (currently) stops (note the wall progress on this map is a little outdated, seems the UN updates its blog less than I do…) follow its path in the direction of the arrow, then when you hit the next arrow (this is where the last of the pics taken above is) you’ll hit a big yellow road-blocking gate. Walk past that and cross the road. You’ll see Batir at the bottom of the hill (circled).
Keeping close to the valley but hiking up its far bank, hug the facing hill and follow it (you’ll hit a path as soon as you find the first road in Walaja) through some of the most beautiful agricultural land in this part of Palestine. It’ll re-zen you after the wall. Until you start thinking about how the UNESCO bid to make Batir a protected area was dropped by the PA in exchange for something it never got. humph. But for now, just enjoy.
For a more macro idea of what the wall is doing and where its going, here’s a more updated map from the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Sorry, I was going to stick to pictures.
Back toward the “start” of the wall, “progress” is also being made. Here’s what that once-charming little Qasr looks like now.
Here’s what it looked like in August 2011 and February 2012 respectively:
This is getting depressing. Sorry. Though really it was depressing before.