After the morning of olive picking, we were given a tour of the wall blocking the way from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. Prior to the 2nd intifada, people passed freely between the two cities which are adjacent. Now, Israel has virtually blockaded all traffic into Jerusalem from Bethlehem or the West Bank. In order to go into Jerusalem from here, you have to go through one of a few check points and Palestinians are absolutely barred without getting special permits. There are many sad examples of people missing funerals of loved ones and families torn apart because of these restrictions. In the meantime, Israeli settlements (colonies) are being systematically built all around the parameter of East Jerusalem (the Palestinian quarter) so as to make movement next to impossible and life harder and harder. Israel insists that ALL of Jerusalem shall be its undivided capital ignoring the original UN partition plan and many subsequent UN resolutions
In spite of the seeming hopelessness of the situation, Palestinians maintain an amazing resiliency, optimism and even humor. The apartheid wall has served as a great canvas for expression, much of it quite clever. I’ve posted previously about the famous artist, Banksy’s wall art. It was interesting to see some of the new art since my last visit. The Walled Off Hotel and Wall Mart where one can buy painting supplies were also new.