- The wall of shame
At the time of celebrating Easter,
we cannot forget that Jesus was crucified outside the walls of
Jerusalem. By his death he broke the wall of hatred that was
separating the nations. We should not build new ones.
Sr Marie Dominique who works in
a retirement home for Palestinians in Jerusalem is asking for
help because of the wall of shame.
- I want to inform you of what is happening in our area
and around our home. Since the 11th of January 2004 a new wall
of 9 meter high is under construction.
It will replace an existing wall that was much lower in height
although still allowed to be crossed when there was not any more
permitted passage to go from Bethany and d'Abou Dis to Jerusalem.
This first wall was built for so called security in August 2002.
This wall had a profound and had a disorganizing effect on the
population and also on us. It separates Jerusalem from Cis Jordanian,
passing also along our road and in front of our entrance door.
This wall had been crossed by thousands of people and children
and students, mothers with their babies and old people, causing
numerous and sometime fatal falls. Two months ago we called an
ambulance for a man of about the age of 65 who fell and landed
on his head and was completely unconscious.
The ambulance arrived after more than half an hour later and
coming back, at the cross road of Bethany, the army searched
the ambulance and the wife of the injured man was made to get
out making more delay in the treatment.
- What is happening at the bottom of the wall has become
intolerable. Hundreds of people have crossed every day and for
months our land and they have to jump over our fences to escape
the soldiers because many of them were working in Jerusalem without
a passage permit.
The people around us live in fear, fear of being stopped, fear
of receiving tear gas, fear of being mistreated, which very often
happens. The tension is permanent for all the population of which
the conditions of living become more and more difficult. It is
a fight every day for all these people who are submitted to humiliation
and violence. We feel very much alone and helpless facing the
We are the spokesmen for all those who are without voice and
who each day since two years undertake a true obstacle race to
arrive at their place of work, or to school, etc. without speaking
of all the sick who die without treatment.
- To accomplish our mission we meet also a lot of difficulties,
when we have to take to hospital old people who are from Cis
Jordanian, because the Palestinian ambulances are not allowed
to circulate in Israel and we have to find a way to go around
the wall and avoiding the roadblocks so that the families can
drive them to the hospital.
It is the same problem for the people who die and their families,
they have to find a way to transport the body to the other side.
Since the last two years life has become very complicated and
it will become worst with the construction of this new wall.
Old people who are still self-sufficient have not been able to
go shopping for several months because all the shops are on the
other side of the wall. How many times they called on the shopkeepers
at the bottom of the wall to give them their order through a
crack between two blocks of concrete.
Old people with families in Cis Jordanian are very isolated
because many families cannot come any more to visit them. Since
the wall was built, we have to increase our vigilance to assure
the security of our old people.
Other difficulties, we had to change our suppliers. This represents
an additional cost because the cost of living is more expensive
in Jerusalem. Today we don't know what will happen when the wall
will be completed because most of the aged people are from Cis
Jordanian and the majority of the employees also.
Among our 18 employees, only three have a pass to Jerusalem.
During these last two years, even themselves had to go through
the wall and find different ways to escape controls because even
with a regular pass, the soldiers did not always let them enter
This wall of 9 meter high will force us:
to employ persons living in Jerusalem and to lay off the majority
of our employees who are presently working;
to give up welcoming old people living in Cis Jordanian, that
means the poorest of them.
We are worried. They are also thousands of people who are
living today in anguish when the building of the wall is still
going up without resistance or protest at the very place where
the other one was built. We have not been informed and the house
is more isolated because of the bad state of the road. Every
day we have to go pick up employees at different locations because
our place has become a military zone.
The supplies are becoming more complicated. We spend our time
managing the unexpected and we hope not to have to hospitalize
old people so much the access to our house is difficult because
of the mud. This week we had a lot of journalists and photographers
in our area, it has become a ground of desolation and humiliation.
We expect that all the interviews organized by different newspapers,
radio and TV stations will alert the public opinion and wake
up the conscience of the politicians.
We hope that you will be able to speak for us to demolish this
wall of shame.
We are waiting for your action to restart the dialogue between
those who are responsible for these two nations and thanking
you in advance to spread the word.
Sr Marie Dominique Croyal.