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Wadi Rahal villagers commit to non-violent resistance

In 1975, Wadi Rahal (The Valley of Travelers) villagers built the school where their kids are educated to this day.  Seven months ago, villagers found a map, placed carefully under two rocks so it wouldn’t blow away.  This map was left by Israeli soldiers for villagers to find, it indicated the planned route of The Wall that will be built around the village.  It will be built 10 meters away from their school.

Immediately after finding the map, five college students from Wadi Rahal began organizing non-violent demonstrations against The Wall.  These students, since 2006, have also provided summer camps for the kids in the village, giving them a place to play, English lessons and training in non-violent resistance.  Once, the kids were able to go on a trip to the sea, an opportunity most Palestinian children do not have as the coast is inaccessible by Palestinians.

Wadi Rahal kids enjoying a day at the beach

Wadi Rahal’s 1700 residents live in the shadow of Efrata, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  The settlers control Wadi Rahal’s water, which flows through a shared water pipe that fills the village’s tanks.  During the summer when water is a priceless commodity, villagers say that Efrata cuts their water to one day a week, leaving them to savor the water in their tank for a week.

A mobile clinic run by Palestinian Medical Relief Services comes once a week for three hours.  At other times, villagers must travel to Bethlehem for medical assistance.

Before 6:00pm, the Israeli army locks a gate that separates the highway (route 60) from the road to the settlement and the village.  Once locked up, villagers have to take a much longer, winding route out of the area.

Any noise at night scares the villagers, whose homes are subject to twice-monthly raids.  Israeli soldiers enter the village at night to search a home.  They knock on doors with the butt of their machine guns and, if the door isn’t opened fast enough, the soldiers break it down.  When they leave, the house is ransacked and things are broken.  What they search for, no one is sure.

Every Friday at noon, the college students organize a non-violent demonstration against the impending construction of The Wall.

For more information about Wadi Rahal, please go to their new website here. Without A Map will be working Wadi Rahal villagers to complete their website and upload more interactive elements.  Stay tuned!

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