Not many crossing today, and passage is fast. We stayed to check whether all the problems were solved for youngsters over 16 crossing to school, in Jabel Mukhaber, but who have not yet received pupils' permits from the administration.
We met only one 12th grade pupil who had not yet received this permit although he had applied, he said, long ago. Elad, the DCO representative who is always willing to help with our inquiries, took the lad's name and details, and also referred us to Amos, the officer for public requests in the civil administration. We haven't been able to get hold of him yet, probably because of the holidays. Meanwhile, the lad crossed with a school permit, and we hope this can continue until the matter is resolved.
At the request of a resident of Sheikh Saed, we checked whether a teacher from a school in Jabel Mukhaber, holding a blue ID, can visit a sick pupil living in Sawaharra without a special permit. The answer, according to the DCO, is negative. Only Sawaharra residents holding blue ID's (according to a list) may enter or leave the place -- no one else. The answer is to travel from Sheikh Saed to Sawaharra along the road which the security system intends to build in the future...
This morning Silwan is peaceful. The two pairs of policemen standing near City of David and Wadi Hilwah Street leading to the walls do not interfere with the flowing traffic. In retrospect, this is the quiet before the storm.
8:00 The former Pishpash -- Lazarus Crossing
We stopped to look at the architectural monstrosity of the wall splitting the neighbourhood, and then a nun turned to us and told us that the police commander of the Jerusalem zone had told a Vatican delegate at their meeting that the crossing (into which millions had been poured) will be closed at the start of the school year. The many kindergarten children arriving from Al-Ezariya will also have to acquire special permits and travel through the Olive Terminal. Too complicated and time-consuming? Let them go to a kindergarten on the other side of the wall... Formerly the crossing would open twice a day, at 8 in the morning and at noon when the kids return, and the nuns would come to take them from the gate to the kindergarten, and vice-versa. It appears that this arrangement was a serious threat to security... We will submit a protest in this matter to Hanna Barag.
We drove along the new two-lane road from Al-Ezariya which ends where the ascent to Wadi Nar begins, and beyond that there is no entry for cars. This means that Palestinians cannot reach Wadi Nar from the north, but must detour and wind through the neighbourhood of Al-Ezariya to reach the checkpoint.
At the checkpoint the soldiers are pleasant, they don't bother the crossing vehicles, at least not while we were there.
On the way back we inquire about the impending closure
and, indeed, as every year, the closure will end at the end of Succot, Saturday night, October 2nd.