It is strangely quiet. About 40 mainly Palestinian protesters face off with a line of armed Israeli soldiers over coils of razor wire.
They calmly explain they want access to land Israel has confiscated to build its West Bank barrier. Chanting begins, followed by impassioned speeches in Hebrew, English and Arabic.
"You soldiers standing here, blocking Palestinians from walking on their own land, you need to think about what you're doing," lectures one young woman. "What will you tell your children?" asks an older man.
The troops stare impassively ahead.
'Excuse to shoot'
Beit Jala is one of a growing number of Palestinian villages holding regular protests against Israel's occupation of the West Bank.
Many end with Palestinian youths throwing stones and Israeli troops firing tear gas and sometimes rubber-coated bullets.
But organisers in Beit Jala, such as Ahmad Lazza
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