more on Har Homa (see post below)

Reportage specific to the experience of the arabs around Har Homa (the project discussed below) concludes the article:

A small group of Israeli Arab and Palestinian workers is also living in Har Homa, in a plywood shack. They work and sleep in shifts, guarding the construction materials from theft. They wash outside, from a spigot, and they watch movies in Arabic received on a large satellite dish.

Under threat of suicide bombers, Israel has seized control of seven of eight Palestinian cities in the West Bank and placed them under curfew. It has dug ditches around cities like Bethlehem and filled them with barbed wire. Still, Israeli security officials say, thousands of Palestinians find ways each day to get into Israel, not, in their case, to kill others and themselves but to find work.

The Palestinian workers said they could make up to 100 shekels daily here — about $21 dollars — compared with nothing at all in the West Bank. As the conflict has ground on and Israel has sealed off Palestinian areas, the Palestinian economy has collapsed.

The men said other Palestinians did not criticize them. "Everybody knows that it's a settlement, but nobody asks you not to work," said one man, who gave his name only as Hassan, 30, the father of five. "They know the alternative: not to eat." Hassan lives half an hour away, but he stays at Har Homa for two weeks at a stretch to avoid getting caught.

One of the guards at the site, Salem Alkuran, 18, an Israeli arab from Beersheba, is quoted disputing the statement of a more irreconcilable compatriot, whose family owned part of the land before it was captured by Israel in 1967, "We can live together," he said. "It's impossible to move the whole country."

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Published on August 11, 2002 2:10 PM.

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