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July 2004
Diary of an artist in Bethlehem
Har Homa settlement built on palestinian land  (between Bethlehem and Jerusalem) - a veiw for all  Palestinians of  Bethlehem by Paul Gent.
Har Homa settlement built on Palestinian land - a veiw for all Palestinians of Bethlehem by Paul Gent.
Leicestershire artist Paul Gent is spending the summer in Palestine working with families whilst creating some stunning art - read his diary.
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Paul Gent is an artist from Leicestershire who has travelled to Palestine to work with families and children

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Monday 21 June

Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem have arranged for about 20 internationals to come to do voluntary work with mainly humanitarian and peace organisations within the Bethlehem area, see first hand what is going on and to stay with Palestinian families.

There is a lovely view from the office window, with the huge fortress like Israeli settlement of Har Homa dominating the skyline.

Up until about for years ago this was a beautiful retreat for people of Bethlehem to have picnics and play amongst the woodlands of the national reserve. Even now, nobody but a few heads of the Israeli military live there, The Palestinians now see it as a prison on the hill.

I am staying in Beit Sahour, once a middle class village, but now as in all Palestinian towns, run down by the Intifadah and Israeli 'security'.

My 'family' has received me, along with an Irish volunteer, like members of their own family. They worry if we are out late and feed us until we can hardly move.

The house is always full of fun, as members of their large family are always visiting through the house's open door.

All of the Rishmawi family, (who seem to populate half of Beit Sahour) speak English, but speak to us in Arabic - so we learn fast.

I had my first Arabic class today at Bethlehem Bible College. 1. Translate into English: ilmasaari. Minna ilkum. 'This means "The money. From us to you" Our teacher explained.

'For example, the Palestinians get aid from other countries, but Yasser Arafat keeps it all for himself - the Palestinian people don't see any of this and he is the tenth richest person in the world, he has houses in all countries in the world'.

We are learning fast in our Arabic classes.

Paul Gent

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