HEBRON: In Sharm's Way

September 11, 1999
HEBRON: In Sharm's Way
by Jamey Bouwmeester

On September 4, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat signed yet
another peace agreement, the Sharm al Sheikh Memorandum, with all the pomp
and circumstance that such a historic moment requires. The Sharm Memo is
two pages of vague legalese that's basically an updated version of the Wye
Memorandum, the implementation of which Israel halted unilaterally.

I spent the afternoon of September 7 visiting with families east of Hebron
in the Beqa'a valley who face house demolition and are matched with North
American churches through CPT's Campaign for Secure Dwellings. The first
thing I noticed as I stepped out of the taxi was the 30 foot high retaining
wall looming above the home of Abdel Jawad Jaber. The wall is made of
enormous limestone boulders cut from the mountain on which it stands. It is
a grotesque anomaly in this quiet valley of grape vines, tomato plants, and

The orchard that used to grow where the wall stands is now only a fading
memory. In three hours, a bulldozer destroyed what had taken a dozen years
to create. A single uprooted olive tree at the base of the wall is the only
reminder that there used to be a garden here where I sat and drank tea.
Above the wall, Israeli heavy machinery has leveled Abdel Jawad's mountain.
The site is being prepared for a new"Jewish neighborhood (read settlement)"
of 40 houses. Abdel Jawad's house has been given a demolition order.