|A wall that separates Bethlehem from Israeli territories.|
Just a few feet away from Jacir Intercontinental Hotel in Bethlehem.
Here on the streets stones are returned by bullets and tear gas
However, the walls are provocative. There are checkpoints everywhere. Those who enter the Palestinian areas are not checked, but when coming out even tourists are checked. Your passports be handy all the time. Hundreds of Palestinians have to cross the checkpoints every day in the morning and return in the evening if they have to work in Israeli areas. You may be turned down without any reasons. So there is great anxiety, fear and sense of loss of dignity as the young Israeli soldiers check your documents and person for weapons etc.
Youth vent their grudge against the walls by graffiti. On Fridays almost invariably they they throw stones at the towers where the Israeli soldiers are posted. The soldiers retaliate with tear gas and if that doesn't deter the mask wearing youth, fire in the air, rubber bullets or even aim at them.
|There is denial! Or it is hope?|
Stone throwing youth are rounded up at night. Even children under 14 serve in Israeli jails, thousands of them.
In our last day in Bethlehem we tried to walk back to our hotel. But there was drama on the street. It was Friday evening and the youth had a holiday. So, they decided to spend the evening throwing stones at the Israeli posts on the walls in Bethlehem. The youth were wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas. The Israeli soldiers opened the gates on the walls and entered the streets and they started firing. We were caught between the two warring groups--stones and bullets. We requested the hotel staff to stop a taxi for us. And as we jumped in to the taxi, the Israeli soldiers were firing into the air and the youth were running away. The taxi driver was cool. The hotel security staff was duty-bound. For them it is a daily scene.
|Will this walls come down one day?|
Will Abraham's children embrace each other one day?
Back in my hotel room I told my wife. Both these parties lack one thing--a Gandhi! Every stone that is pelted will be returned by a bullet unless one more Gandhi's are born, may be two one on each side of the wall.