Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Sheikh Saed, Thu 15.7.10, Afternoon
14:30 - 17:30
Driving down Jabel Mukaber we noticed that the place looked cleaner than usual – also continuing later via the Road of the Americas and from Ras El Amud down to Abu Dis it is clear that the garbage is apparently collected on Thursday-mornings – there were no overflowing containers like we usually see on our Wednesday shifts. Not one of the containers has a lid, so cats and ravens are free to scatter rubbish all around and road sweepers are non-existent.
The commander of the CP told us that if we entered we would not be allowed back out. He called his superior and asked whether ‘Watch-Women’ were allowed into ‘red’ and was told in no uncertain terms that we were not – a new regulation “Tzav Aluf”, we promised to report and inquire.
At the hotel in Abu Dis we saw a couple of Palestinian workers entering the gate on foot without being checked. The BP soldier would not let us pass. He said that Israelis could only enter if the settlers come to fetch them. When we asked him, whether in fact this was still Israel beyond the fence, he said: “Yes, it is a place where Jews and Arabs live together.”
At the Pishpash we saw the lowered, newly painted tiny metal door locked and despite enormous fortifications there was no military presence whatsoever.
We drove the new road along the wall to the right and again were impressed by the huge investments involved in the completion of yet another piece of the wall and the fences.
At the entrance to Maaleh Adumim we noted that the US-Aid road has not been completed and Palestinian drivers coming from El Azzariya have to deal not only with having to give the settlers the right of way, but also with only one lane, the other taken by construction works.
We arrived near Kedar earlier than usual and saw a number of huge machines from the distance. We entered to the right before the gate of the settlement, where the work on the extension is going ahead at top speed. Cement was being poured all over and the place looked like an ant hill with dozens of workers running and rushing to finish their day’s work. We spoke to a Palestinian contractor who admitted with a huge grin that there was no such thing as a ‘freeze’.
As soon as we walked down to the CP of Wadi Nar two soldiers approached us. We asked them whether indeed it is true that Israeli Arab vehicles with yellow number plates are now allowed in freely in both directions. They affirmed this, but said that not many of them make use of this road. It is clear that to reach Bethlehem from Jerusalem there are shorter ways.
Five minutes later they returned to us to inform us that we are no longer allowed to observe from where we always used to stand, but had to move back all the way up near the grocery store. We told them that it would be difficult for us to see what is going on and that we would report on this new regulation intended for our security. At that point many workers arrived and waited for transportation exactly at the spot designated for us – clearly the ‘safest’ place for us to be.
The traffic moved apace in both directions and there were no lines. Some Israeli vehicles with young drivers parked on the top to await a Palestinian vehicle, which had bumped into them. They planned to take revenge – we decided not to be witnesses to that confrontation.