Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Sun 8.11.09, Morning
7:20 Sheikh Sa'ed
We find a line of 10-12 people when we arrive; the line moves quickly with no apprent delays. One of those crossing tells us that an hour earlier there was a very long line; the soldiers at the checkpoint deny this.
8:00 The Pishpash
On the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we arrive at the Pishpash where a wall stands.
8:30 Zeitim Crossing
The crossing appears tranquil at this hour, with sparse traffic.
9:00 Sheik Jerrakh, the protest tent
We went to check out the situation after an additional house was invaded by settlers. Two civilian guards are stationed at the entrance, fairly calm and at ease. (Who pays for them? the settlers? the authorities? both -- (as in the case of civilian security in the settlements in East Jerusalem, paid for by the Ministry of Housing, etc.?)
The following emerges from our conversation with the Palestinian residents of the house:
The unit occupied by the settlers was built, without permit, nine years ago, and since then left unoccupied, by court order. It abuts on another unit recieved from UNWRA, and the extended family (12 souls) lives in the old unit because occupation of the one next to it is prohibited.
The family relate that the settlers arrived last week, in broad daylight, accompanied by police and civilian security guards, and entered the house which has been constantly guarded since then. They said there had been a court deliberation a week before the invasion (and there's a missing link here: we didn't understand how and when the deliberation started, and what claims had been made); the judge had said that the decision would be mailed to them before any steps were taken regarding the house, and yet the settlers had entered before the family knew anything of the upshot of the court deliberations.
This, in broad outline, is what we were able to gather.
On the other side of the street, the house occupied by settlers a few months ago appears to be undergoing rennovations.
A few European activists and residents were sitting in the protest tent.