Conquering the Narrow Valley of the Giant Ghosts


Thou shalt not stealExodus 20:15


Bolivian Camouflage—Sugared Noodles (Pasankalla) sold during the Day of the Dead
A General is Camouflaged amid them

Walking amid the colorful pasankalla sugared noodles, the Bolivian general keep asking himself aloud: “How come this gringo keeps seeing me?”
Camouflage is a method of concealment that allows an object to remain unnoticed, by blending with its environment. Military camouflage is one of many means of deceiving an enemy. In practice, it is the application of color and materials to battledress and military equipment to conceal them from visual observation.
Military bases and strongholds are invariably disguised in a variety of methods and to different degrees, depending on their location and intended task.
The best strategy is camouflaging the camouflaging attempt itself, making sure that the structure openly fulfils an innocent role.
On December 2011, I reported on Israel’s reaching a key point in the camouflaging of Mount Scopus in Jerusalem (Israel Camouflages Jerusalem).
On February 2012, the same was achieved in Silwan, East Jerusalem (Inventing Jerusalem).
In July 2013, several families are paying dear for Israel’s confiscation of their lands and homes between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Robbing parcel by parcel, alley by alley, neighborhood by neighborhood, Israel camouflages an illegitimate* war against Palestine.

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Jerusalem British War Cemetery, Mount Scopus
Jerusalem Besieged

The Narrow Valley of the Giant Ghosts
The Biblical Refaim Valley** is difficult to find nowadays. Its upper part is within Jerusalem’s German Colony, its lower end is in the wider Valley of Elah. It was an ancient route connecting Judea with the Coastal Plain.
Outside the boundary of the exclusive German Colony—its Deutscher Tempel founders are long gone—the narrow valley is home to Palestinian farmers. Parts of the Valley are within the Green Line, others are in the West Bank. Within the latter, the settlement of Gilo, which separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem, is on a hill above the valley, watching a tiny Palestinian village named Walaja.

Area of New Park and Separation Wall
Jerusalem Besieged

Unluckily this area is of double strategic importance. It is within the area designed for a park enveloping Jerusalem, a slightly camouflaged military deployment area, vital for a possible future attack on Palestine. It is also part of Israel’s attempt to create a Jewish settlement continuity between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. The Zionist idea behind the move is to bisect the West Bank, an attempt to transform Palestine into a non-viable state (see Trashing Evil).
Their being robbed of their homes by the State of Israel was just a matter of time.
Refaim Valley Park Approved
On July 8, 2013, the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee approved the creation of the Refaim Valley Park, which will include the lands of the village of Walaja. The park covers 1,425 acres, on both sides of the Green Line.
Farmers’ terraces form one fifth of the new park. After the park and the Separation Wall are completed, the farmers will need to pass army-controlled gates in order to reach their fields. In contrast, Jewish visitors arriving from West Jerusalem, would have free access to the farmers’ lands.
Ir Amim is a nonprofit association that supports Judaizing Jerusalem; ironically, its name means “City of the Peoples.” Its spokesman, Aviv Tatarsky, reacted to the decision: “the route of the security fence allows the taking of lands from the inhabitants of Walaja and transferring them to Israelis, who will come to visit.”
The village will have only one exit from the fence surrounding it, towards Beit Jala. It has become a high-security prison denying freedom to those who had done no harm. Inverting the rule of law, the prison was built by the aggressors.
“The government wants to fence us in, first the fence and now the park and in the end they’ll build a settlement there,” Ahmad Sallah Barghout of Walaja said; his parents’ graves are on the confiscated lands. In his farmer’s naivety, he fails to see that no settlement would be built there. His parents rest in what have become a camouflaged military deployment area, ready to catapult the IDF into Palestine.
* Unlawfulness in the West Bank has various layers. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. The international community considers Israeli settlements a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory. Thus, they are illegal under international law. Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The vast majority of West Bank settlements are in between these definitions; they are considered illegal by the entire world, but legal by the Israeli government. However, sometimes they are considered unlawful even by the Israeli government when they create outposts to existing settlements without permits. The status of Jerusalem was formalized with the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel. The world opposed this law; UN Security Council Resolution 478, adopted by fourteen votes to none, with the abstention of the United States of America, declared that the law was “null and void” and “must be rescinded.” Israel ignored it.
** the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward Joshua 15.8. The Hebrew “rephaim” can be translated either as “giants” and “ghosts,” though the proper way of referring to the latter is “ruhot rephaim,” “ghosts spirits.”
More Occupied Jerusalem Articles


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Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards. In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.