Life in Husan

Husan ???? is a sprawling West Bank town on the southern edge of Jerusalem, straddled by Gilo, the tunnels road, and Beitar Ilit.  Most of the residents work in neighboring Beit Lechem, or tend to their fields or herds.  Commerce is practically non-existent in Husan.

In good times, Husan has also been a prime source of day labor for Israeli contractors in Jerusalem and as far as Bet Shemesh.  In bad times, such as in the recent second Intifada, Husan acted as a springboard for hostilities.  The road that connects Beitar Illit with the tunnels road that heads north to Jerusalem and south to Gush Etzion also shares a two kilometer southern border with Husan.  Beitar residents would often be stoned, or worse, by projectiles thrown from the Husan residents from their higher vantage point.

The Israeli army clamped down on Husan with several measures to alleviate the stress and risk of injury or death of Beitar residents.  A huge link fence was erected on most of the southern border of Husan that would effectively eliminate terrorist attacks from the high points.  Next, the army declared the tunnels road and the Beitar access road to be inaccessible to Husan residents.  Husan residents were now trapped in their village except for taking a long walk across the tunnels road to Beit Jara or Beit Lechem, and a loophole that allowed transit vans from employers in other cities to pick up Husan residents for work.  However, Husan is several kilometers long in its own right.  As a result, an odd daily ritual could be seen, as Husan residents either walked or were transported from their homes to the edge of the city, where they would walk across the army baracades, and then step into other vans that would take them to their work or shopping in nearby cities.

Here’s some images of this daily spectacle and of the environs:

Israel Air Force on Yom Haatzmaut

What a great birthday. Israel is now 60 years old. A little grey hair and plump around the waist, but looking better than ever!

A marvelous thing happened today on our hike to Tel Azeka (more on that later). As we reached the top of the hill, we saw 5 IDF fighter jets soar above our heads with sky-sweeping fly bys. I imagine that this would not be a welcome site in Lebanon or Gaza, but here in the center of Israel, this is just awesome to see.

I am assuming they were participating in some ceremony for Israel’s Independence Day. At 60, our air force is still the giants of the sky.

Click on the images for larger views.

IDF Air Force IDF Air Force IDF Air Force IDF Air Force