Access to West Bank Historic Site Still Choked

by Genevieve Long for The Epoch Times READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

WEST BANK—Jamal Serahan has spent 29 years of his life watching over a well in the Middle East. It might seem like an odd job, but for Serahan, the well is a precious part of the region’s history. It is fabled to be the same well that Jesus was offered a drink from by a Samaritan woman during a long journey 2,000 years ago.

Jacob's Well, in the West Bank near Nablus. (Genevieve Long/The Epoch Times)

Jacob's Well, in the West Bank near Nablus. (Genevieve Long/The Epoch Times)

Today, the well is housed deep in the caverns of a massive church near the town of Nablus, in the Central West Bank. You can still draw water and drink from it. Before the 2nd intifada in 2000, busloads of tourists visited the area and the well. According to the middle-aged Serahan, who lives in the nearby Balata refugee camp, the numbers of visitors fell off when fighting started and access in and out of the area was restricted 10 years ago.

The numbers have yet to recover, mainly because even though travel restrictions have eased and it is much safe, whether checkpoints will be choked or access will be stalled is still a day-to-day guessing game. But during a recent month-long festival in Nablus some outside life was brought back into the area.

“The tourists are starting to come—now [there are] about 20, sometimes 50, sometimes 70, sometimes 10 [tourists per day],” said Mr. Serahan by telephone from the West Bank, who added that even with easing security restrictions, smooth travel is still uncertain. “They don’t know if the checkpoint is open.”