One Saturday, I visited the town of Al Walaja with an activist I had met. The town is being surrounded by the barrier wall on all sides, as fields, orchards, backyards, and family cemeteries are cut off from the families who need them to be able to go about their daily lives. Because it was Shabbat, the construction workers were not there and the hillside was quiet. Some residents suggested I park in their driveway so as not to block the narrow road, and later invited me in for tea. We were barely able to communicate but I learned that several photographers had already come through, and I was relieved to hear that their story was already getting out through press channels. I was able to walk around the construction site freely.
The entrance to Al Walaja lies straight ahead in between these two road signs, but it is not marked.
The road into Al Walaja flanked by Har Gilo settlement, new construction.
The barrier wall between Har Gilo and Al Walaja. At the left is a small lean-to that settlers use to guard the wall. The day I went, two men hung around with rifles and dogs, and they challenged me as I approached. Sorry for the lame composition, but when I took the picture of the wall, I hadn’t really noticed the lean-to yet, and after they yelled at me and saw my camera, I was afraid to go back.
Palestinian home. Construction was halted because it faces the settlement.
This image shows the planned route of the wall on the northwestern side of Al Walaja, and the roads that lead into Jerusalem from the south; Jerusalem in the distance; and just inside the wall construction route in the lower left hand corner, a guy on a horse.
Al Walaja used to cover several hilltops in the area and is now reduced to just one; it is the last remaining hilltop occupied by Palestinians near the southern entrance to Jersualem.
Merry Christmas from Palestine