Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Silwan, Mon 12.9.11, Morning
6:50 Sheikh Saed
With the end of Ramadan, the clock has been moved forward and is now identical to Israeli time. At the request of "Bimkom" we are circulating information among our friends in the neighbourhood action committe and passersby to the effect that only 8 days remain until the appeal for due reparations in the wake of land appropriation, starting in 2000, for the construction of the American route, as well as land south of Sheikh Saed for construction of the eastern ring road. We are told that the intention is to dig a tunnel under Sheikh Saed and thus extend the ring road in the direction of the Old City. Clarification is required.
We climb the hill beyond the checkpoint, without (it seems) being noticed by the soldiers. Some 12 youngsters from the Jabel Mukhaber High School are waiting there -- with the usual start-of-school-year stories: they have a permit from school but not from the civil adminstration, and are not allowed to cross. That's how it was during the entire last week (when our shift was cancelled and we missed the start of the school year). The boys report that the permits came through to the school yesterday, and the administration is now sending a car to fetch them and distribute to the pupils who may finally cross to begin their studies. And indeed, 15 minutes later the permits are handed out and all cross. The situation was better this year because the start of the school year does not coincide with High Holidays, and the civil administration was able to issue the permits within a week.
An unpleasant surprise awaited us on exiting: the soldiers had not heard of Machsom-watch and refused to let us cross back to our car in Jabel Mukhaber because we are not residents who are the only ones allowed to cross at this checkpoint. All the rest must cross at Zeitim Crossing. After long consultations with civil administration headquarters we were allowed to cross after 15 minutes. We couldn't find out whether this was deliberate or the result of ignorance.
Work on sewage in Ein Hilwah Str. below. The workers say they will move up to the western part of the neighbourhood later on. Otherwise, plenty of activity around City of David: renovations, readying the entrance, extending access. All this probably in preparation for the new tours during the holidays. An archaeological conference of the Elad lobby, including orthodox rabbis, is taking place today (not here) with the latest discoveries from the City of David. The media, even Ha'aretz, are agog. Not us. How is it possible that a private and politically identified lobby is given rights over some of the most important archaeological heritage of Israel? And why is it that the topmost archaeologists are co-operating instead of protesting?
8:20 Olive Terminal
Sleepy and quiet. Two positions are open. The cute young military policeman says there was much pressure from 5:00 to 8:00, but enough positions were open and things went well.
8:45 Wadi Nar
We get out of the car with trepidation, but there are only a couple of dogs sunk in deep sleep in the checkpoint area. The commander comes up to us to say that there is a grave local alert around the checkpoint, and that we should be careful. In view of this, it's surprising how few of the passing cars are inspected, and the majority cross with no attention from the soldiers. Perhaps they are looking for a very specific profile of persons.