Among the group of teachers sitting in the sun before lessons start, Khalid Zboun is clearly the head teacher. All the teachers are drinking tea, the fuel of teaching, but Khalid is drinking his from a pint mug that wouldn’t look out of place in a British pub. He needs to drink tea in such quantities because being head teacher of Al Khadr Boys’ Secondary School, near Bethlehem, is a tough job. He knows neither the time nor the place that the Israel military will come.
In 2002 , following a series of suicide attacks the Israeli military devised a plan to secure its people . A wall was built separating people from people. In 2008, the suicide attacks had ceased but construction of the Barrier, whose objective is to separate the entire West Bank from Israel, continued.
Today is 11 April 2016. I stand and watch as the bulldozers dig among olive groves and cranes slowly place concrete blocks next to each other. I stand next to Issa on the land that had once been his, now confiscated by the Israeli military to divide the Cremisan Valley from Beit Jala for security reasons. Issa’s eyes are empty and he shrugs his shoulders at the sight of what is happening in front of us. His entire olive grove is destroyed, and with it his family’s history and future. Issa is one of 58 families whose olive groves were torn up to build the Separation Barrier. In the end, the wall around Cremisan Valley will restrict between about 400 and 500 families from accessing their land. With the wall slowly being built in front of us, I ask Issa whether he still has hope:
“There’s always hope. The Berlin Wall fell, and even this wall will fall.”
Jerusalem is different to any other city in the world. It is a place of worship for three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) and moreover it’s a city that has a special international status (corpus separatum). According to the International Law (UN General Assembly Resolution 181, 1947), it can’t belong to a specific nationality and it has to be accessible for all peoples. For these reasons it is important that Jerusalem is an open, inclusive and shared city.
“I have nowhere else to go. says Ali Z, 39 year old father and resident of Ein Ar Rashash “If my home is demolished the sky will be my blanket and the earth my bed. I must stay”
Ein ar Rashash is a Bedouin village in Nablus in the northern West Bank. This community faces imminent demolition after a decision made by the Israeli Military court on Thursday (28th January), which gave the community until 6am on the first of February to demolish their homes and evacuate the area. The first of February just passed and the residents of the village did not carry out self-demolitions nor did the evacuate the area. They do however live with the knowledge that their homes and livelihoods could be destroyed at any moment.
29.1.16, Imminent Bedouin demolition threat at Ein Ar Rashash Bedouin Community, Photo EAPPI/A. Dunne
Happy New Year to all! We want to say thank you to all our followers for reading our blogs and to all our Ecumenical Accompaniers for their eyewitness stories. We are encouraged by your interest and pray that 2016 will be a year of renewed hope for a just peace.
2015 was a challenging year in which occupation related human rights violations continued throughout the West Bank.August registered the highest number of structures demolished by the Israeli authorities in a single month in five years (since July 2010), settlement expansion was ongoing in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem and construction of the separation barrier resumed in Bethlehem. In addition, the escalation of violence that began in mid October led to a tragic loss of life in both Israel and Palestine. Here we shed light on some of the injustices that occurred inour 10 most viewed posts from 2015.
06.09.15 Bir Ouna land owner in front of Israeli soldiers during Sunday demonstration. Photo EAPPI/T. Finstad
On August 17, Israeli soldiers and security personnel supervised the the bulldozing of land and the uprooting of over 100 ancient olive trees in the Bir Ouna. The land is being cleared to facilitate the routing of the separation wall through the Cremisan Valley. Local Christians have been gathering daily at the site of the bulldozing to protest the illegal confiscation of their land and to pray for the protection of the Cremisan Valley.
Moving to a new place may sound exotic… unless one is forced to move. We have had the opportunity to visit several families who have experienced or are facing such a threat. Displacement is the name given to such an action and it violates several recognized human rights, such as the rights to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work, security of the person, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and freedom of movement. 
For Bedouin families in Palestine displacement is a reality. In Al Eizariya, in East Jerusalem, we met Maryam, her sister and her four nieces. When Maryam was twelve they were forcibly moved to this permanent residence. Some of the women in the community attend university but the men find it difficult as it is not a part of their tradition. Having left behind the tending of animals and land, some men now work as cleaners in the nearby Israeli settlements. It is, however, a difficult life. Maryam offered tea while we planned future visits. As we left, the girls were eager to take photos with our cameras. They looked like budding journalists as they told us where to stand and they giggled loudly when they reviewed the photos they had taken on the phones and digital cameras.
21.12.15. East Jerusalem Al Ezariyah, EAs from groups 58 and 59 with Bedouin children. Photo EAPPI/M. Carvalho