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January 8, 2006

The Wall and Nonviolent Resistance

By eileen fleming

On The Wall that tourists see at the checkpoint from Jerusalem into Bethlehem a hundred square foot sign from The Minister of Tourism hangs and it proclaims: "Peace, Peace, Peace." "'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace."-Jeremiah 6:14


On The Wall that tourists see at the checkpoint from Jerusalem into Bethlehem a hundred square foot sign from The Minister of Tourism hangs and it proclaims: "Peace, Peace, Peace."

"'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace."-Jeremiah 6:14

I moved into the Little Town in occupied territory of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve and for twelve days walked "through streets that were dead"-[Dylan] in the morning, noon and night and everywhere I did go, shops were closed, restaurants empty. A few locals around and tour buses come and go at the Church of The Nativity.

Four out of five stores are closed and restaurants empty because tourists don't want to see, hear or know about occupied territory.

I walked through The TERMINAL from Bethlehem to Jerusalem this past Christmas morning.
I walked The Way of Palestinians,
Not The Way tourists in buses and taxis go;
I went the way Palestinians and curious Christians tread,
Who want to know what's really going down
In the 'Holy' Land
Which is in pieces.

A few months back The Fourth Estate covered the drama in the Gaza, but never did they show The Wall nor address the facts on the ground of what it has done to millions of good people.

Since 1948 the Christian population of the Holy Land has gone from 20% to less than 1.3% of the total and continues to shrink fast due to the occupation, oppression, denial of basic inalienable human rights, loss of economic opportunity and the violence from the IDF and the militant extremists.

As I walked on Christmas morning through the sterile, frigid TERMINAL with its concealed cameras, upon the floor I did saw a 2 by 2 foot swath of blood and I shiver now even more than I did then.
Only the bleeder and Big Brother know how it got there.

A few months ago Senator Clinton stood on the other side of The Wall and claimed it was good for security. She never bothered to enter into the Little Town in Occupied Territory of Bethlehem, birth place of The Prince of Peace.

During my stay in the Little Town in Occupied Territory I spent hours walking around.
Beggar boys would follow me as I always gave them all the coin shekels I had even after helpful locals warned me the kids made trouble and not to give them anything, I still did.
I did say no to all the old men hawking postcards and kafiya's near the Church of The Nativity for they did some business as soon as the tourists disembarked from their air-conditioned and heated Tour buses that briefly stopped at The Church of The Nativity. The busy tourists would shoot film without ever really looking around them. Then they would all climb back into their big fat buses and roll on out of occupied territory. They check Bethlehem off their itinerary clueless to the facts on the ground and ignorance is only bliss for the proud and deluded......

A few days back, I sat in the new living room of the D Family in Dasheish, one of three refugee camps in Bethlehem.

The D Family told me that in 2004, the IDF banged on their door and informed them they were going to demolish it all within fifteen minutes. The family all got safely out but their home was but a memory a few moments later.
No one in the family had ever been in trouble or even arrested and there was no reason why ever given to them nor any compensation.
An Uncle down the stairs from the D's, also had his home blown away but other relatives took them all in for family values really happen here. The poor take care of the poor and don't look to government to do what people of good will do automatically: care for the widow, the orphan, the ill and the prisonerÂ…Â…..

My first day in Jerusalem I called for a cab and Sam had been my driver ever since. He can comfortably transport eight and has a good sound system. Sam is an Orthodox Christian in the Syrian Church and has a gorgeous wife and two beautiful kids. Sam has VIP papers which enable him to chauffeur the Patriarchs around town without as much hassle as a regular Palestinian would have to endure at the checkpoints.

Sam, his wife and I rode to the Ben Gurion Airport for my 1 AM flight out talking a little but mostly listening to music. When we arrived at the checkpoint at the entrance of the airport, Sam rolls down his window and smiles at the boy soldier and say's "Shalom" but it sounds more like salaam.

Sam's VIP pass means nothing to the soldier and we are ordered to disembark and pull out all the luggage. My passport is demanded without a smile and Sam is led into the interrogation room while his wife and I are out in the cold laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Another soldier examines and probes the van thoroughly looking for b-o-m-b-s.

The paranoia I see in many Israeli's has got to be, some kind of holocaust hangover blinding them to the fact that the oppressed have now become the oppressors.

After Sam's van is thoroughly examined for b-o-m-b-s, I receive my passport back marked with a red sticker upon it. No soldier ever asked me any questions but t he sticker brands me as having traveled through occupied territory and the third degree for me is someone else's territory.

Back in Sam's van his wife expertly removes the sticker and all the glue from my passport.

Sam smiles wryly as he tells me, "This is what the Nazi's did to the Jews before the Holocaust when they made them wear the Star of David. They marked them as the enemy . Now anyone who knows Palestinians or visits occupied territory gets a sticker to label them as friends of the enemy."

We listen to Marley and the Wailers;

"Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don't give up the fight."

My luggage was filled with Arabic nonviolent literature and Sam cautions me to leave it all with him and avoid the extra hassle.
I left everything I can get on the Internet but kept books, a CD and a DVD.

Sam warns me on what I shouldn't say and what I should when I undergo my interrogation from the inquisitive employees at Ben Gurion Airport.

While in Bethlehem I shared with many my experience of having my computer confiscated by EL AL in JFK at check in. Every Palestinian told me 'don't worry about it', but every American freaked out and thought they had downloaded my files, read my email and put a Trojan in my soft ware. I thought these Americans were perhaps too fearful and most definitely paranoid. But now I wondered if they really knew what they were talking about and I had been deluded.

Marley and the Wailers won out:
"Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Get up, stand up
Don't give up the fight."

I was determined I would just answer honestly every question and keep smiling.
Every employee I encountered smiled back at me and nobody asked me any 'explosive' questions.
But then while three different young women examined and swabbed every thing and every surface in all my luggage I experienced frisson: the chill in the thrill of the rush you experience in a moment of delight, excitement or fear.

The young lady examining my bag came upon Holy Land Trust's booklet: "Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance."

She never looked my way, but she read the cover and scanned all the pages most thoroughly.
I wonder if perhaps a few seeds of thought are germinating in Tel Aviv and what new things may be born with the end of Sharon and the rapidly spreading and globally supported nonviolent resistance movement in Palestine.

In the village of Budrus, Palestinian women, children, farmers, Israelis and Internationals stood up to The Wall, the IDF, tear gas and rubber bullets.
They said NO to The Wall that was stealing their land and chanted in English: "We can do it."
The Wall in Budrus is now on the Green Line and Billin and women, children and farmers in other villages are pursuing nonviolent resistance.

eileen fleming

Submitters Bio:
Eileen Fleming,is a Citizen of CONSCIENCE for US House of Representatives 2012
Founder of
Staff Member of, A Feature Correspondent for
Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and "BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010"