Abu Dis, Sheikh Saed, Mon 5.3.12, Afternoon
Because of the state of the roads which were already bad enough before the latest rains, we arranged to have our faithful driver Sammy meet us in Al Azariya and take us to the various checkpoints in the area, including some that we never knew existed.
Sammy took us to a tiny checkpoint, only for those residents of Sawahre who have permission to enter Jerusalem. It is totally isolated at the bottom of a deep ravine and can be reached only by a single lane steep road down. Sammy said that there are always a good number of soldiers there – even though the number of people using it is minimal because several years back, a soldier was attacked at the site.
From there, we took the road from Sawahre to Sheikh Saed. We had travelled the road before, several years ago, but from the opposite direction. The condition of the road is worse than appalling. It can be used only on a clear day, and even then, with difficulty. If the entry from Jebel Mukkaber is closed for whatever reason, then this horrible road is the only way to access Sheikh Saed. We asked about how people from Sheikh Saed who are in need of medical help manage and he said that the army does let them out in those cases to Jerusalem. However, they are totally dependent upon those in charge because if they had to use the road to Sawahre, their condition would be dire indeed.