Wall Stories

To live and to love under the shadow of occupation

Westbank, Occupied Palestine 1995 > 2023

“Today, Palestinians – whatever their faith – are systematically subjected to house demolitions and forced evictions, and live in constant fear of losing their homes”1. Since October 7, this is truer than ever.

A stone’s throw from Jerusalem, on the other side of the wall, Taybeh is the last Christian village in Palestine. Quite a symbol: there are a good 1,000 souls there, 3 churches and a worldwide diaspora of more than 10,000 people from the village living in exile all over the world, from Guatemala to Jordan via Dubai, Germany or the United States.

In 1948, the Christian population of Palestine represented about twenty percent. In 2023, they dropped to one percent. Such are the challenges of daily life the most young people could only imagine their futures abroad.  Yet, others would not leave the land of their ancestors, whatever may be the cost.  But today, whatever is their inclination, a same shadow of deep despair is killing the last glimmer of hope  in their eyes.

In October 1995, they were building around every corner. The Oslo Accords had opened the door to fleeting hope. Many exiles returned to the village of their childhood. Nadim Khoury was one of those. He returned from US in 1994 to open the first microbrewery in the Middle East. In 2023, the Taybeh brewery has acquired a reputation that goes beyond the borders of the West Bank. Since October 7th though, no more exports nor dispatching in the Westbank is possible.

The movement of Palestinians or goods are almost impossible. Any road which passes near a settlement is closed to Palestinians, while the only one left are narrow and in very poor conditions and subject to arbitrary blockage or improvised check points, generating yet unseen trafic jams.

In 1995, there were no Israeli settlements near the Taybeh. Today, there are three of them, as well as a military base whose surveillance equipment casts a shadow over the village. This year, for the first time ever, the villagers have been subject to death threat by armed settlers and therefor they were not able to collect olives from the closest fields from those settlements. .

The people of Taybeh are prisonners in their own homes and left with no hopes for a better future.

Still, they keep on living, smiling, and loving; raising kids – a desperate act of resistance under the darkening shadow of colonisation by the State of Israel.

Their last stand !

1/ 2023, excerpt from “Amnesty International: Israeli Apartheid to the Palestinian People”.

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