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Wall power

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Wall power
 
Sharon Dell

THE distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, reputed birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, is a mere eight kilometres. But to get there, we had to cross on foot through the eight-metre-high concrete separation wall at the enormous Gilo checkpoint. It was mid-morning and the checkpoint, despite it being Easter, which is peak tourist time, was quiet. We were fortunate: I had read previously that thousands of West Bank workers with the requisite permits from the Israeli government start queuing from the Bethlehem side as early as 3 am every day to get to jobs in Jerusalem.

Once we were inside the checkpoint precinct, the “exit” signs guiding our passage confused our progress until it dawned on me that we were officially “exiting” the State of Israel.

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