Babbler # 1292
posted 19 September 2004 01:32 PM
"I was born in this cave. My (10) children were born here. That is why it is so important to us," says Omoor. "The Israelis are trying to squeeze us between two sledgehammers, but we will never leave. We belong to this land. I will die in this cave."
By sledgehammers, Omoor means the Israeli government's facts on the ground. Right outside the door, a flat valley expanse constitutes an Israeli army firing range, a fact that the military has for years argued requires the expulsion of the cave people — for their own safety.
And just above their heads, the people of Jinba see a small Israeli settlement, one in a string of such hilltop enclaves cutting a swath between the cave villages and their nearest centre of urban gravity — Yatta, a town of 75,000 Palestinians nine kilometres distant.
But if there is a fatal blow, it may come from the fact not yet planted this far south — the Israeli separation fence currently carving its way downward from Bethlehem.
But Jacov Taljah, 47, the patriarch of what he calls Nof Nesher (Eagle's Lookout) was never a Muslim. He was born and raised a Christian Afrikaner in apartheid-era South Africa.
"The people I come from, the Boers, are supposedly the most racist people in the world," he harrumphs.
"But they are really the least racist of all. Apartheid only means apart. And that's what I want: to live apart. You don't see any Arabs around here. And you don't see any Jews, either. I don't like too many people around me."
Actually, there are two Palestinians to be seen on Taljah's property. On the day we visit, they are busy mixing cement to complete a fieldstone bunkhouse for the four soldiers guarding Nof Nesher. Taljah calls the workers "good Arabs."
The whole story
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001
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