'Anata-Shu'afat, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Tue 7.5.13, Morning
Idit S. (photographing), Anat T. (photographing and reporting)
A new wall is under construction, and plans for separate roads are taking shape.
The rest is much the same...
Preparations for separate roads for Palestinians
A red traffic light to no-where at the Shu'afat checkpoint
Empty space at the Shu'afat checkpoint
06:45 Sheikh Saed
An elderly Palestinian with a permit for prayer on Friday only, is not allowed to cross. The drivers in the transportation lot say he's from the Nablus area and comes almost every day
and tries to cross... he himself says he's trying to visit a sick relative.
It's not clear why he wishes/tries to cross, and it's difficult to help in such a situation; but it's clear that he's not a security threat. Aside from him, everyone crosses safely and quickly.
08:00 Shu'afat refugee camp
Many traffic jams on the way to Shuafat. We wanted to meet G., but the bus parking lot is empty and no one answers the pnone. We had time to inspect what Idit calls "urban disasters", particularly abundant here: a red traffic light facing an area full of concrete road blocks and fences; empty fenced-off lots which could have served for parking close to the checkpoint while the approach from the road to the checkpoint is long and especially arduous; lots of fences and cages scattered without any rational plan. Someone is making a lot of money out of this.
Outside the checkpoint some sort of earthworks have begun.
08:30 Olive Terminal
We tried to decipher the meaning of the fence under construction, going east from the checkpoint, apparently as far as Az-Za'ayyim. We consulted well-informed folk in Ir Amim, and others, and all think this is part of the long-planned road system whose purpose is to convert the Jerusalem-Ma'aleh Adumim road into a route exclusively for Israelis, thus removing the checkpoint for residents of Ma'aleh Adumim, while at the same time creating a separate road for Palestinian traffic from the north to the south of the West Bank, through the hills and the wadi below Al Ezariya. This would not only prevent Palestinians from using the Israeli road, but also exclude their passage through the controversial E1 area through which Israel wishes to connect Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem. Obviously, if Palestinians cannot access E1 and will have a separate route from the north to the south of the West Bank, this would ease construction in and annexation of E1 at some later stage. It looks as though new energies in the Defence Ministry are reviving old plans and starting up the bulldozers, this time without traces of left-wing relics.