Tsur Baher, Um Lisan, Silwan, Wadi Joz, Olive Terminal
Tsur Baher is now restored to the bosom of the Jerusalem Envelope. The concrete blocks near the "Olive Pillars" sculpture in Ramat Rachel have been moved to the side and marked with a large red X over the caption "the new route"-- a firm reminder of what may come back if there is further trouble in Jerusalem. Also the checkpoint at the roundabout leading to the main entrance to Tsur Baher (Hava Eretzisraeli St.) is no longer operative... for the present.
On the other hand, a little further north, the turning from Barazani St. into Um Lisan is still invigilated by a border-police jeep and a row of concrete blocks. The soldiers say the checkpoint remains because this is the home of the Har Nof synagogue terrorists.
We were glad to see that the blockage at Rash Shara al Madaras has been opened -- Aviv, the Ir Amim investigator, phoned to say that this came about after Ir Amim and other organisations threatened to go to the Supreme Court -- and we were able to drive all the way to Sheikh Saed. The checkpoint from the promenade to Jabel Mukabber is still there.
We reach Sheikh Saed and discover that the Civil Admininstration was not idle during our 2-week absence. The upgraded checkpoint is still there, grey, massive, ugly and steep (we saw some steps, but no access for prams and wheelchairs, but that may yet follow). The site is not yet open for crossing, and we were not permitted to look inside. Jeeps are parked in the area, with many border-police around, some on reserve duty -- all busy with breakfast while residents mostly cross unchecked. Once again we were not allowed to climb the hill above the checkpoint and return. We spoke with B. from the Jerusalem Envelope, and he promised to take care of this.
Conversations with Sheikh Saed residents holding blue ID's provide a new perspective. Two men told us that the situation is excellent because the massive checkpoint protects them from all kinds of "trouble" coming out of Jabel Mukkaber, where the cost of living is much cheaper.
Silwan, Wadi Joz (coming from Olive Terminal)
No particular traffic or checkpoints. Much traffic of settlers on their way to school or work. In the City of David, biblical harp-muzak is playing. No checkpoints or checks on Wadi Joz, aside from a jeep overlooking the Mount of Olives.
9:00 Olive Terminal
Closed off by the separation wall abutting on the fences of the checkpoint. And yet, this appears to be the easiest crossing in the Jerusalem area, according to both soldiers and Palestinians. At this hour it's pretty empty. We hear of detentions and refer them to Silvia.
Regretfully, we failed to reach Issawiya and Abu Tor to explore the checkpoints there.