Such will be the fate of a population from which a terrorist emerges: collective punishment in Shuafat, Az-za'ayyem and A-Tur. Such too will be the grounds for the next terrorist attack.
7:00 Shuafat refugee camp
Guiding crowds of children to the outer square is supervised by persons of the neighbourhood committee who know them all, and they redirect imposters to the regular checkpoint. They also know that this arrangement, allowed until the inner parking zone for the children's buses is complete, may be withdrawn.
There is a line, but not too long, at the pedestrian checkpoint for the rest of the population (who mostly hold blue ID's). They cross, one by one, through the magnometer, their belongings placed on the side (but not checked). The soldiers are sequestered behind the glass walls of the booth, only one checking, the other praying!). There is another passage and another magnometer -- disconnected from power -- and plenty of manpower in the vehicular lanes, so that it's not really clear why the second pedestrian crossing is not operative to shorten the line. Is the inspection truly for security? Doesn't seem so since belongings are not checked...
The neighbourhood committee will appeal to the courts about tightening the conditions of inspection -- against the decision of the Supreme Court which required at least 6-8 magnometers and lanes, if the purpose is indeed to inspect and not simply to hassle those crossing.
We arrive a minute before the heavy metal gate, blocking the road below through which the residents cross to Jerusalem and back, is locked. 90% of residents have Jerusalem residency rights (blue ID's) . Since the recent terrorist attacks in A-Tur and Sheikh Jarrach, the gate is locked throughout the day, and only in the last couple of days has it been opened for 2 hours in the morning. Previously, a manned checkpoint was operative. As a result, the residents of Az-za'ayyem may leave for Jerusalem through the Az-za'ayyem checkpoint, but if they wish to reach A-Tur, the Mount of Olives or the Old City -- their preferred destinations of course -- they may do so only via the Mount Scopus tunnel, and not directly). As for returning home, or access for visitors and shoppers, this can be done only by driving to Ma'aleh Adumim or Mishor Adumim (10 minutes in each direction, barring traffic jams), then making a U-turn and returning to the Az-za'ayyem checkpoint where there is a turn into the neighbrourhood just before the checkpoint. Once again we witness what appears to be collective punishment following the attack on a soldier in the lower checkpoint.
Inside Az-za'ayyem morale is low. The greengrocer and other residents say that businesses are thinking of closing because people simply don't manage to reach these places for shopping or care repairs. On Friday they will demonstrate at the checkpoint, and invite us to come.
In the wake of the report from Avital and Michaela of the street block near the elementary school east of the main road (the Al Mukkasad road), we drove there. The neighbourhood is indeed crawling with border policemen (in the little park at the end of the street there are some 10 border policemen on the benches, seemingly ready for any alert or immediate response to any event). Opposite the high school there are another 3 soldiers, as well as a van at the intersection from the ascent to Wadi Joz, and there is still a road block (from the direction of the neighbourhood buildings to the east), at the end of the alley inwhich the boys' elementary school is situated. Residents say the direct route to the Mount of Olives is closed, and they must detour through the entire neighbourhood to reach the Mokkasad road.
Such is the fate of a population from which a single terrorist has emerged.