25 April 2010 — The Ghetto of Bethlehem is shrinking, the people are resisting but feel abandoned by the self-appointed leadership. Many people complain that the Prime Minister who was not elected or confirmed by the parliament comes to give his blessings to projects or to plant a tree for the cameras. In fact he symbolically planted a tree in Mitri’s front yard after the army bulldozed his trees. Internationals and locals replaced the children’s swings and slide only to see them pulled out again a few days later. We now have the video of the dragging of nonviolent protesters from the garden of Mitri and tape of the destruction of his children’s playground (see HERE).
Saturday night we had an educational protest to hundreds of Italian tourists who were brought by the catholic church on pilgrimage. We were distressed to find that they had coordinated their visit with the Palestinian ministry of tourism AND with the Israeli ministry of tourism. We objected to the way it was presented and dealt with. The wall is not after all a border between states to march to for peace and play games on the other side. The wall is an illegal apartheid structure built on occupied territories separating Palestinians in the shrinking Bethlehem Ghetto from their land and from other Palestinians and from their holy sites in Jerusalem. As the Italians were crossing the apartheid wall, the Israeli army was extending the wall around Al-Walaja village of Bethlehem and destroying more of Mitris land. But Al-Walaja people were heroic on Sunday. They delayed the uprooting of their trees at a cost to themselves: over 30 were injured and several detained. Internationals and Israelis were there. I will try to get you the link to a video of the actual action. It is hard for us to be at many places of destruction at one time and we lack resources to get video cameras in the hands of qualified people to document the atrocities so this initial video (photographed by another person) has little of the more rough and tumble action.