Al Masara is a Palestinian village located south-west of BethlehemCity. Al Masara is one of several villages which has been cut from its traditional land due to land confiscations, the expansion of the Gush Etzion settlement block and the planned construction of the apartheid wall which is due to commence at the end of this year. The wall will also result in Al Masara residents being denied access to Road 60; the primary road through Bethlehem. While construction of the wall has temporarily halted due to Israeli budgetary restrictions, Al Masara continues its struggle against the wall and the illegal Israeli occupation.
Each year the village runs a children’s summer camp called Children Without Borders. During this summer camp children participate in activities including sports, art, capoeira, games, computer skills and dance.
I would like to thank Nottingham Palestine Solidarity Campaign for donating a significant amount towards the children’s summer camp this year, these funds made it possible for the summer camp to purchase art materials and take the children on a trip to the swimming pool.
It is important for the children to have a summer camp as it gives them opportunity to learn new skills in a fun and structured way. The children also have the chance to practice their English with the International volunteers and learn about different cultures. Living in a small, traditional village in the West Bank, many of the children have never visited other places in Palestine apart from Bethlehem. When I asked some of the children which place they would most like to visit, they all said Jerusalem. These children, the majority of whom have the West Bank ID, are prevented from visiting Jerusalem due the Israeli’s not allowing them to cross to the other side of the wall, restricting their freedom of movement. Many of the children long and dream to visit Al-Aqsa mosque.