Institut für Palästinakunde
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Al-Walaja: Omar Hajajehs Eine-Million-Dollar Tunnel [31.07.2012]

Omar Hajajehs Eine-Million-Dollar Tunnel (OCHA) A husband and father of three boys, Omar Hajajeh lives on the easternmost edge of Al Walaja. The only way for his house, located on the “Israeli” side of the West Bank Barrier, to be connected to the rest of the village is through a tunnel especially built for him.

“Imagine if the only way for you to reach your village was through a tunnel that was built solely for your family. Imagine that your friends and family can only visit you from 6 AM until 6 PM. This is what will become of my life. The zoo in Jerusalem that I can see from my window, but not allowed to visit, houses animals in larger cages than the one being built around me.

Soon after 2008, when Israeli border patrols began dropping maps on my doorstep, along with orders to confiscate my land, I challenged this, as well as a ruling that a fence be built around my house with electronic gates allowing for my passage into and out of Al Walaja.

It was then that the tactics to push me out started. Israeli officials even offered to buy my land. ‘Think it over with your family. Take the money, and you’ll prosper.’ At one point the Israeli soldiers set up a checkpoint right outside my house to prevent me from entering because I was not a Jerusalem resident. When my friends came to visit, the Israeli soldier would detain them as well.

In 2011, months after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against the electronic gates for accessing my land, construction workers arrived at my doorstep to drill. ‘What are you constructing?’ I asked. The worker replied, ‘A tunnel. Just for you.’ And the construction continues until today.

They detonated 1.5 tons of dynamite in the mountain to make way for this construction right next to my house. My wife was home alone and was instructed five minutes before the explosion to stay in her house. ‘I felt like the house moved up and down,’ she told me. I now need $50,000 to repair damages they caused.

My three young children, all under the age of twelve, currently walk two kilometers to their school. The construction of the fence, barrier, and tunnel will force me to make a loop and drive my children through the tunnel and then through Al Walaja and Beit Jala in order for their school day to start – a forty-five minute trip.”  (ts)

Ergänzende Links:
The Monthly Humanitarian Monitor - JUNE 2012 (OCHA)

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