Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Silwan, Tue 17.7.12, Morning
Idit S., Anat T. (reporting)
7:00 Sheikh Saed Checkpoint
This time the usual problem of permitting us to stand on the hill above the checkpoint is quickly resolved, the border police commander remembers that we're allowed, and in parallel we encounter a new agent, the officer for interntiional organisations of the Jerusalem Envelope, who also permits.
Labourers with permits cross the checkpoit quickly, and the Palestinians speak of the impending Ramadan. We see two children, 7 and 10, with a bag of food, waiting at the exit. Summer camp? It seems not, because an adult carrying tools arrives and gestures to them to follow him...
7:40 Drive through Silwan
Traffic is disrupted due to the blocking of one lane for work on pipe replacements -- from the turn off to the Bustan neighbourhood to the ascent on Ein Hilweh Street (in Hebrew called: Ma'alot City of David).
In the ruined playground on Ein Hilweh a mini football field has been set up with money from donations. At the top of the street, at the entrance to City of David, one lane is blocked for excavations. Will they ever end? No road block at the exit to Derech Ha-Ofel, only moveable barriers in anticipation of future events...
8:00 Olive Terminal
Beyond the checkpoint a jeep is parked: 3 soldiers and 3 women -- illegal residents -- on their way to arrest. A daily event in this area, except that generally it's not women. Lively traffic of mini-buses and a large group of young women, babies and children from Jericho, on their way for a day of fun in Jaffa. The sense of vacation is palpable, as is the excitement towards approaching Ramadan.
The checkpoint itself is pretty empty, no lines even though only one lane is open. The toilets are locked; we're told that they were fixed and will reopen on Ramadan.
9:00 Wadi Nar
A record number of young dogs, busy with their own territorial drama around the checkpoint, greets us with indifference. But if truth be told, 6 such dogs turning their attention to you can be pretty scary, and we think this should be attended to. The dogs will not resolve the problem of the"equality" draft in Israel, and the checkpoint as a civilian crossing place should not be a place civilians would be afraid to approach. We alerted the person responsible for this section of the Jerusalem Envelope; he had not been aware of the situation.