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Wall of the 21st century vol.2

When I overlooked from my hotel room in Bethlehem, I saw a white colored housing complex far away on the hill. Getting afternoon sunshine, it glittered like a white fort.
In the same hotel lobby, I saw a painting on the wall. It's a landscape of snow capped pine woods hill. And the scenery had some resemblance to the one from my room. However I couldn't find any housing complex in the picture. More over, it had snow. "So, it might be other place" I thought.
But when I asked the owner about the painting, he said that's an exact hill I had saw. "Do you have snow in such a warmer climate?" "Of course we do in winter. Well, it had been a beautiful pine woods hill" "So what's the white housing complex on the hill?" I asked him. "It's a settlement built by Israel" Now, I made sense the outline of the story.
"Har Homa" It's a name of the settlement.

As hearing the story, I felt like visiting there. So I passed the check point once again and went back to the East Jerusalem.
At just outside of the wall, taxi drivers were waiting a customer. A driver expecting took them to Jerusalem gave a deep sigh when I told him the name of Har Homa. Then he asked me "Do you know what Har Homa is?" "I think so" I said. He gave me the sign "Get in" with popping his chin up.
We drove on the wide and tidy road to the settlement. At the entrance, the driver asked me "Hey, it's OK to pull over here?" After I got off the car, he returned on the same way quickly. Maybe because it's weekday, I didn't see many people. There is a school, preschool, supermarket,clinic ..., it had enough facilities for daily life. It's a typical residence for new families from the western standard. But there was a big difference from the other side of the wall.
Construction was still going on. Palestinian workers were making a park. In the tidy new town like a "Lego" toy, also toy like colorful bulldozer was running. And from the top of hill, I could over look far away to Bethlehem, and maybe to the my room window.

The East Jerusalem belongs to Palestine Territory in official. Despite of that, Israel made a decision to construct the Har Homa. That became a target of the international criticism. And once Palestinian people and Israeli soldier collided over the construction. The painting in the hotel lobby and taxi driver's words meant that. Current population of Har Homa is over 20,000.
Actually, I saw a lot of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. It's illegal. They always had possibility of terrorist attack. Each settlement was tightly secured. And residents, who were waiting transportation at the outside of settlement for instance, are guarded by armed soldier.
Talking about settlements, of course it's not built on vacant space but mostly replace to a town where Palestinian people used to live. After all, Palestinian who lost a land and a house became a refugee.

However, I think about it once again. Certainly, the settlements are illegal and get a huge criticism from international society, then terrorism steeply increase. But if I were Jewish, let's say my ancestor had a terrible history of persecution, and one day I get offer from new world which has mild climate and brand-new house, what I'm gonna do? They say "It's your land. So come to the new world" To be honest, I couldn't resist it.
Maybe I become a people on this side of the wall. Then I don't try to think of the refugee camp beyond the wall. But from time to time, I might be scare of horror of suicide bombing. I must see the real of the new world.

Oct. 2011

Today's piece
" Grand view of Bethlehem from Israeli settlement " Har Homa, Outer Jerusalem 2010

Israel Hebron vol.1

fumikatz osada photographie