“Don’t get me wrong!” The Palestinian guide said, “Jews have always lived here, but they were only about 5% of the population 100 years ago. When you get to Hebron, you can speak to the people there and see how they feel about things."
He was speaking at high speed, so desperate to get his point across.
“Before Oslo, there were only 80,000 Jews in the West Bank Settlements, but since then, the numbers have increased to 600,000. These are illegal; they are built against international law. The Jews brainwash people all over the world to take their birthright trip and come to live here. Many are religious Jews and live on welfare from the government, with the soldiers protecting them; it costs millions of dollars every day to keep them here. Most religious Jews refuse to do army service. They are offered cheap housing in the Occupied Territories and those who are not biased or religious when they arrive are influenced by the leaders of the community. There are 26 illegal settlements in the Gush Etzion Circle,” he said, "what I call the death circle because people fight each other there. They have taken the land and, as you can see, at every opportunity they put an Israeli flag on it. In some areas, the Settlers are a law unto themselves. They are always armed and uncontrollable. There are watch towers and the soldiers watch over us – sometimes it's worse when they don’t.”
As we passed through Bet Oman we were told that there is a protest there every Friday. "The Soldiers are always close by, but this doesn’t stop the settlers at the top of the hill from opening their tanks and letting the sewage flow down the hill onto our land. This destroys our crops and contaminates our land. They have a total disregard for our health."