Through the entrance on the southern edge of the village, away from the prison-like fences and barbed wire that surround the illegal Israeli settlement, rolling hills and fields of olive trees tell of the traditional lifestyle still led by the residents of this small agricultural community.


Walaja is a quiet village, apart from the rumblings and bangings of the much larger Gilo settlement expanding on its eastern side – disruptions that are expected to intensify after Israel’s announcement to build 770 new settler units.

As parts of both the Har Gilo and Gilo settlements are built on Walaja’s land, residents believe that their further expansion solidifies the confiscation of land that previously belonged to the village, removing any hope that residents could one day get their land back