Inside Nearly: A Fire far from Ceasing
Christian Peace Maker Teams in Hebron
June 28, 2001

This is what is happening in my village these days.  Attached is  a report
prepared by the Christian Peace Maker Teams in Hebron about my village.

Subject: [WashMidEast][cpthebron] Inside Nearly: A
Fire far from Ceasing

-- Washington Office Middle East Issues Mailing List
The following is an update from the Christian Peacemaking Team in Hebron.

Inside Nearly: A Fire Far From Ceasing June 28, 2001 By Anita Fast

As Israel announces that it has lifted the tight closure in "nearly all
parts of West Bank" as part of the cease-fire agreement, it is easy to
ignore the word "nearly".  The people of Beit Ummar, a Palestinian village
of 12 000 situated between Hebron and Bethlehem, can tell you about the fire
burning inside that deceptive word.  While other villages in the area have
had their roadblocks removed and the heavily armed military back away from
their borders, Beit Ummar remains surrounded and enclosed.

Why, one might ask?  Beit Ummar is a peaceful place, there has not been any
shooting at soldiers or settlers from their town, stone-throwing clashes
rarely occur at the junction where soldiers are continuously stationed, and
Beit Ummar itself is under Israeli military control as Area B, not under the
control of the Palestinian Authority police.

Farmers and municipal workers have their suspicions.  This is harvest season
for plums, and the economy of Beit Ummar depends on the money earned from
this crop, which typically brings the town five to six million shekels per
year.  With the seizure of their village this month, people expect only
several hundred thousand shekels.  Most of the plums sit in boxes at the
wholesale market, rotting.  With all the roads closed, the fruit cannot be
transported to its usual markets in Jericho, Nablus, Jerusalem, and Tel

Walking down the long row of market stalls, shopkeepers point to bullet
holes in the metal doors.  At midnight a week ago, soldiers reportedly shoot
into the market area.  According to the Palestinians, there was no
provocation.  "It is a message: 'You should leave this place,'" says Habes

Alami, a municipal worker who helped build the wholesale market last year.
"It is not by chance." "Everyone is suffering.  They put us in a cage and
lock the door.  And we are people!  Within one month, everyone will support
Hamas and Islamic Jihad because we have nothing to lose.  People who
supported the peace process are becoming extremists," warns Alami.

Inside 'nearly' there are real people.  Real people who are being pushed to
the point of despair by bullets that fly outside of any cease-fire
agreement.  The live ammunition of closure and economic strangulation, of
constant threat and merciless control over the lives of regular people, are
fanning the flames of a fire that is far from ceasing.