in post

26 August 2020

Z. came in the morning to do some work around the house. We have known him for 38 years, when he and we were in our 20s. He comes from the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Sira, about 10 minutes from here - or used to be, before they put up the separation barrier. It used to be much easier to visit him. Now, rather than taking him home, we have to drop him at the village gate, along apartheid road 443, under the army watchtower. Many workers used to come in from Beit Sira; including Z's brothers and sons; but now I think it's only Z. There are a few building laborers from nearby Beit Liqya. Right now, due to the virus, there's kind of a reverse closure. Palestinian workers who come in have to stay, rather than go home every day. On the other hand, there are holes in the fence. According to Z, the places are well known by the Israeli army, who do not intervene, and sometimes whole busloads of people come through. The rules regarding the occupation have never been set in stone - a lot depends on who is the soldier on duty, or the mood of the times.

The virus is affecting some parts of the West Bank more seriously than others. It started in the south, but worked its way north. Z. says that two people died of it recently in Beit Liqya; a 45 year old woman with pre-existing health conditions, and a 72 year old man who was also not so well. He knew both of them.

Anyway, Z. replaced 3 new sewage pipe covers with cheap but good ones from El Bireh. He fixed the cobble-stone exterior wall facings that he originally built for us, about twenty five years, ago. He fixed an electrical problem under our new patio pergola, and closed off some unused vents for the A/C. (We used to have a central A/C but nowadays room units are preferred for energy saving.) he can do more or less anything, and I've always been a poor and lazy handyman.