Just outside Hebron there is a tiny forgotten village off the main road and up a dirt track. Suzana arranged for us to visit there to put on a show and play with the kids. So setting off early in the morning we cross the Israeli check point into the West Bank and Palestine proper. Tailing back the other way were a queue of cars, bus, vans and trucks waiting for the say so of the Israeli army to enter East Jerusalem. We entered an area of hills dotted with rocks and olive trees between which small boys drove goats. Up and down the countryside we went, passing King Herod’s summer palace high on a hill; you can’t go too far without stumbling over a historical site.
From Hebron we had to pass two more Israeli army checkpoints and made several phone calls for instructions before we finally arrived at the village – to be greeted by 80 children from the village. The conditions there were extremely basic with erratic water supply and electricity from a generator. However on the hill side over looking the village you could see Settler compounds. 20 children from the school live outside the village in caves a few kilometers away passed the Settlement. Each day these children have to be escorted by the the Israeli army because of the risk of attack from the Settlers.
We did the show which was a load of fun with plenty of heckling and laughter from the children. And we set about trying to organise some games for them to play when two Israeli humvees drove through the village. Suddenly the spell was broken and tension and stress could be seen on the children’s faces.
There is no peace for the people of this village; the more outspoken of the villagers claim to be hassled day and night. This has not escaped the notice of the Israeli and international peace community. Our show was organised by an Israeli group of peace activists who also arrange for Internationals to stay in the village to observe any human rights issues from the Settlers and Israeli Army.
As we were leaving we asked to use the toilet and we were taken to the home of one of the children. And despite their poverty (they had no furniture) we couldn’t leave without a cup of tea and plenty of warm smiles. Annie and Kiwana local