There's a line, and the female soldier is not dealing with the public until the checkpoint commander returns. He's busy getting rid of the transportation vehicles on the hill. After a few minutes he returns and people begin to cross. He tells us that the army plans to close the fence in Sheikh Saed and permit crossing only in Sawahara, along with the paving of a road between Sawahara and Sheikh Saed. To us this sounds like a gross violation of the Supreme Court's decision to allow free round the clock crossing for the residents. We would be happy to hear more of this from anyone in the know.
Tisha Be-Av may be the reason for increased forces and lots of buses near the Old City walls, but vehicles leaving the neighbourhood are not stopped. By the way, the position has been moved in the direction of the neighbourhood beyond the turn into the Givati parking lot.
There is a no-entry sign on the way in. We descend to check the road now totally dug up on the eastern side. The overseer tells us that work is expected to continue for two years (!!), first laying down the communications network (Bezek and Hot), then building sidewalks and separating between each of the traffic directions. Palestinian workers living in the neighbourhood report that the settlers' guards beat up Palestinian children for no reason. We asked them to report to the police in real time, and if there's no response they should turn to us and we will send on the report.
We enter unimpeded with Yael who is carrying a professional camera
, having shown through the armoured glass the IDF spokesman's permission for human rights organisations to film at the checkoints. There's a line at the single position open, and soon a second is opened but the line does not disappear. The monitors in both beep less frequently, but the wait at the checking booth is still relatively long. Yael films freely for an art work project she's planning.
Suddenly B. arrives and and insists the filming be stopped. We pull out the permit once more, but B. says that this is a police checkpoint, and army instructions are not valid here. We argue that, to the contrary, the police are in the service of citizens, and filming is therefore permitted. He guides us out relatively quickly through the checkpoint. We decided to call the checkpoint commander about this, but the conversations kept being interrupted due to poor connections. We don't intend to give up on this.
9:00 Wadi Nar
The sodiers check the permit Yael shows them, and look truly surprised. They ask us to wait while they call the area commander who is at a meeting. But there are no problems with respect to our taking up a position on the yellow barrier. Not much is happening at the checkpoint. During our stay not a single vehicle is stopped. The commanders are still at their meeting, and we don't wait for their permission to film.
13:30 Sheikh Jarrah
Our shift ended at Wadi Nar, but Anat and Yael came to Sheikh Jarrah later to talk to the summer camp activists and to Nitza Aminov about further ideas for taking out the children (and a few mothers). It appears that transportation is the most expensive part. We suggest that, should they decide to visit the youth section of the Museum, or the bird observatory behind the rose garden, they should alert us so that we can try to organise car pools there and back.
This week Tzvia Shapira's 11th hour suggestion for a trip to the beach did not work out. The residents couldn't get organized due to differences of opinion. But now there is great excitement under the fig tree -- tomorrow the children will be going together with the Tzur Ba'her summer camp to the Zoo. Money is being collected for reduced price entrance tickets -- not a simple matter for these people. Nitza, for her part, is subsidizing the transportation.
The trip to the Zoo, according to the residents, was a great success, the highlight of the summer camp.