Sunday, March 14. This last evening in Tel Aviv, Marcey and I walk over to the beach. Kick off our sandals. Walk barefoot in the sand. Wade in the water. Rest by the seaside. Watch the tide rolling in.
Monday Morning, March 15. I take a taxi from Ezra ha Sofer to the Jerusalem sherut; get off at the last stop in Jerusalem; taxi to the bus station by the Damascus Gate; board bus number 124 to Bethlehem.
Arrive at Bethlehem Checkpoint 300.
The Wall. Metal turnstile. Walk to paroled Checkpoint. Another metal turnstile. Walk through long steel mesh corridor. Arrive on other side of Wall. See Wall snaking through countryside. Walk down road next to Wall. Walk through alley. Walk by closed shops. Walk by emptied houses in shadow by the Wall. Walk to end. Here's where I am.
"Diamonds, Jewelry, Olive Wood and Mother of Pearl"
"Go to Hell Hearts. I want you my best Love. Carol M. will bring this Wall Down. I don't ask to be Palestinian -- I just got lucky. With Love and Kisses; Nothing Lasts Forever. Democracy Now? Jesus Wept. Where's the USA? Love Conquers All. Love to All; Not Just to Jesus. Atheism: A Brilliant Alternative. Israel: Kiss my Ass. Where There's a Will, There's a Way. I Want my Ball Back! Thanks! Only God Can! Nobody Else Can!
Colors for Free! Colors for Free!
Here is the sea of Bethlehem: a 25 foot high concrete wall stretching as far as the eye can see, snaking through city and valley, blocking the sunlight (See the lemons, how small they are); blocking the houses ( See the houses, how the wall towers over the roofs); blocking sight (Say cheese to the cameras on top of the Wall.)
But, I find it again--in front of Claire's home: Blue sky. Fluffy white cumulous clouds. Calm waters. A yellow sandy shore. Here it is, the sea, the beach, the seashore – graffitied in bright colors on the Wall. So children can see where they can't go anymore.. So everyone who journeys here can see. But few make that pilgrimage anymore.
Saturday, in Jaffa, as a finale to a meeting of Israel's Women in Black, the "Raging Grannies" donned silly aprons and straw hats with huge fake flowers and sang in their uproarious sardonic way (to the tune of "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"):
"Is there a Wall in Jericho, Jericho, Jericho? Is there a Wall in Jericho? Jericho? No! There isn't. But, there's a Wall in Mos'ha, in Bi'na, in Bil'in. There's a Wall in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Tulkarem. There's a Wall in Abu Dis, Jayous, Qalqilya… When will that Wall come tumbling down? So… there's no Wall in Jericho, Jericho, Jericho. There's no Wall in Jericho. -- Not yet!"