We've all heard it. Most of us have been up close to it. The noise the digger makes as it breaks into the rocks. The fast staccato beat. Its sound hammering away at Palestinian rights. Its loud. And just like the Israeli occupation: repetitive, consistent, routine and oppressive. But for one whole hour on Sunday morning we made it silent.
Al Walaja, with a population of approximately 2,000 residents, is located north-west of Bethlehem and south-west of Jerusalem. It is made up of areas within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries (the ‘Jerusalem’ side) and Areas B and C (the ‘West Bank’ side). In a series of cases, on behalf of its residents, the al Walaja Village Council petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice to change the route of the Wall to have it built along the Green Line and not within the West Bank.
In a recent decision regarding the western section of the Wall, (on the ‘West Bank’ side), the Supreme Court lifted an interim injunction that had managed to stop work on the Wall in that area since 28 December 2010. The decision rejected a proposed change to the Wall’s path, which means that a large area of agricultural land owned by residents of al Walaja will remain on the ‘Jerusalem’ side of the Wall, accessible only by agricultural gates and a permit system.
The village will effectively be surrounded by a wall, turned into a ghetto, all happening with the top-end Jerusalem shopping centre not a 10 minute drive down the valley.