Container (Wadi Nar), Sheikh Saed, Silwan
The new checkpoint building is not yet in use. They must be waiting for the end of winter to upgrade the residents' protection from the rain. The security road was completed first, and the fence has been replaced by concrete walls. We were not permitted to enter the new checkpoint area, but we suspect that the steep steps will impede access of baby buggies, or the elderly and the handicapped. Aside from that, all is in working order: small children cross without documents or inspection, for the rest documents are checked unless the soldiers are already familiar with the owners. We did not see any elderly persons without documents crossing, although we had been told that the over 60's may cross without permits. Do the residents know of this?
In the morning hours this explosive neighbourhood almost always appears calm. There are no checkpoints, either for exit or entrance. Vehicles park in any or every available space, narrowing even more the already narrow routes. Traffic of settlers, both pedestrian and motorized, is much in evidence.
8:15 Wadi Nar
A traffic jam from Ma'aleh Adumim to the Az-Za'ayyem checkpoint has formed. Changes in traffic: at the roundabout in Al Ezariya, where one turns left into the road leading to Wadi Nar, there's a large new station for "transits", which in effect renders driving round the roundabout impossible. In Wadi Nar there are renovations. The soldiers don't know what is planned, perhaps widening the road and upgrading the soldiers' buildings, including the station which is the governor's home on the hill. A pair of dogs with their cute puppies are sunning themselves. At this point they're attacking no one, only playing with each other.
When we returned, the traffic jam in the direction of Az-Za'ayyem had loosened.