Showing 1 - 20 from 33 entries
> Palestinian Women in Resistance
> Mary van Teeffelen-Morcos: Mary's anger
> Violette Lama, Rachel's Tomb area
> Talal Barham, Rachel's Tomb area
> Nicola, restaurant owner at Rachel's Tomb
> Michael and Linda Costa Halabi, Rachel's Tomb...
> Antoinette Knesevich
> Life in Beit Sahour : Jaela Andoni’s Story
> Alexandar Qamar, Aida Camp-Rachel's Tomb area
> Makram al Arja - Everest restaurant in Beit Jala
> Shliby, living at Rachel's Tomb area
> Interview with Claire, living in Rachel's Tomb area
> Marwan, living in the Rachel's Tomb area
> Melvina, on the history of the Rachel's Tomb area
> Dima, a young architect,, about the Rachel's Tomb area
> Antoinette Kinesivich about the Rachel's Tomb area
> Shafiq al-Hout's Story
> A Doctor in Galilee
> My Utopian Jaffa
> Some Personal Recollections: Sixty Years Since 1948
Marwan owns a garden shop in the former main street of Bethlehem that is now one of the first buildings after the checkpoint.
When they started to build the Wall some years ago the people from Jerusalem, our main costumers, stopped coming. The business collapsed, maybe 99%. The Wall affects many people. There are many families living in Bethlehem and Jerusalem who cannot visit each other any more and move easily. Many people used to go for business or shopping to Bethlehem but they cannot take products from Bethlehem to Jerusalem any more. Many shops are closed; only three or four places are still open. This area is now far away for the people from Bethlehem. They are afraid to come to this area because the army controls the area. So I have less customers. In fact, we have neither costumers from Jerusalem nor Bethlehem. The tourists are still coming, but they visit restaurants and souvenir shops. In addition, the economic situation declined for everyone. People cannot afford anymore to buy plants and similar things. They have to keep their money for food. In the past they could work and afford to buy things for the garden, but now it is difficult to spend money on such things.
The Wall affects us at different levels: economically and socially. We lost our business, customers and friends. People do not feel comfortable, not only economically… They do not have hope. All people you talk with will give you the same answer: nobody is happy in this area. It is difficult to travel and go from Bethlehem to Ramallah for example. It makes it more complicated if you want to marry someone from another place, like Ramallah, or spend your free time somewhere else. You will spend your whole day traveling. It used to be much easier, it took much less time; we could move more freely than today. Since a long time they are speaking about a ‘solution’ to end the problems, but nothing is happening. It becomes worse every day; there is nothing that gives hope to the people. And no one is changing something to give hope.
Initiatives to improve the situation are just theoretical. We don’t see anything ‘on the ground’ to help the people and give them hope. You can say many things, but we need real solutions. The people ask for solutions, not for long speeches. Every day there are talks about new solutions, but people do not feel it. Also these solidarity projects do not give results. They are just giving statements and protesting, but do you see anything happening? It is a political problem that the politicians must solve. The associations then have to work together to create a good situation. The administrative people and politicians have to manage to give a solution, as the people are waiting for them. There are special people who are elected for this purpose. People from the street cannot give a solution. We are living in the third world; it is not like in your country where normal people can put pressure on the government. Here it is different; it is not possible to do such things. The people are not educated about this. And our people are politically divided now; there are a lot of groups. The question of the people still being divided in the West Bank and Gaza or whether they will unite is a political question. Most important is democracy and law to provide justice to the people, to give them rights and protect them. It is a practical issue that we should manage. The law is not working now; people spend many years in the court but do not manage to make an end to their problems.
To do something yourself is not easy. You are surrounded by others and cannot do whatever you want. There are many obstacles you have to face in order to work, to make business, to move from one place to the other, etc. It is not your own choice. There are many elements affecting our lives. We should first solve the problems between the Palestinians and the Israelis to get a solution. Then the Palestinian administration should find solutions to solve the local problems, such as transportation issues, unemployment, application of law, promoting tourism and creating a good image to the world.
When you see a solution you will get hope, but you will lose it when the problems are increasing every day. When we could see the problems getting solved, even slowly, that would give us hope. Now no one has started to solve the problems or really tried to. Actually, we have no other solution than to survive and resist. We have to stay and manage together. What else can we do? We do not have many possibilities. Many people are now talking with Palestinian politicians; they are discussing and advising them. Many people organize themselves in groups and are protesting against the authority. I mean, the workers and the government have offices where they can discuss their problems.
It is not likely that the international community provides us with a solution; different countries make things even more complicated. There is a lot of hypocrisy: from one side they say that they support the Palestinians but from the other side they work against us. Of course some countries feel with the Palestinians and really want to solve the problems. But what matters is who supports whom. You need the important countries that have the power to push people to find a solution, like the US, Germany, France, and other European countries. Some European countries financially support the Palestinians, but it is not a question of money; we need a political solution. Money comes and goes… In many countries they were pushed to find a solution, for instance in Ireland. The problems started in 1948 and they started a peace process in 1993, but we still do not have a solution. There is no progress in negotiations; no agreement on any point. Fifteen years should be enough to solve thousands of problems! If you really want a solution it is possible to find it within a year, but they are not interested to do so. If you do not want you will not find a solution. It is as simple as that.
Interview: June 2008
Nina Koevoets (24) lived in the West Bank for 3 months doing volunteering work for a non-violence organization in East Jerusalem and conducting interviews for AEI-Open Windows on the impact of the Separation Wall on people’s lives in Bethlehem. The personal stories reflect different thoughts, hopes, despair and ways of coping.