'Anata-Shu'afat, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed

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Yael I., Ruth O. and Ilana D. (reporting)

From 9:30 AM till 12:00 noon

Sheikh Sa'ad, Olive Passage and Anata

The road through Jebel Mukabbar was empty and even looked rather clean, the bins had been emptied on Thursday, but even next to them there was not too much garbage. Of course as we neared Sheikh Sa'ad we saw that the amount of garbage along the slope had increased dramatically. The massive construction in and around the CP is still not completed. The amount of concrete invested in this project is unbelievable. The parking lot (“for the convenience of the population”) all the way down a steep hill is ready, but no car was parked there. Like many other cars, we also found a spot near the CP in the middle of the rubbish. There were two Border Police vans and a lot of soldiers present, but hardly any Palestinians crossed. Two ladies tried their luck; one passed the other one was sent back. An elderly man crossed, he is definitely over fifty and was in possession of a green ID plus a permit. Since the Friday prayers only start at 1:00 PM, the place looked rather empty. Beyond the CP there is an almost completed wall. We didn’t attempt to enter, on this Ramadan Friday, just after the IDF had entered Gaza when we felt the animosity of the soldiers, although they behaved correctly. We noted that there is still a kind of taxi service within the village and three women were dropped off above the CP, only one was allowed to cross into Israel. A few Palestinians greeted us warmly and one thanked us for coming and we wished  him a Ramadan Kareem.

There was hardly any traffic along the Road of the Americas, but we noted that the Municipality had apparently invested in a great number of street signs, most called Salah Road. Beyond Silwan the road has been asphalted and there are freshly painted white markings. The drive up to Ras El Amud has never been as easy. The second part of the Maaleh Zeitim settlement is now occupied, but the former police station is still not inhabited. The road down to the separation wall was empty too and the entrance to the Pish-Pash looked like a ghost town. Before we were able to get close to the Olive Passage we were stopped by a police car at the bottom of the hill and told not to continue towards the CP. We noted that the wall enclosing the CP has now been completed and decided to investigate further next time.

In Anata too we no longer saw any breaches in the wall which now encloses even more hi-rise buildings almost on top of each other and a new dead-end roads towards the former Northern CP. The entrance and the CP were almost deserted. We looked at the former CP to the North and there is only a big ‘humanitarian’ metal door in the wall which probably is hardly ever opened.