Bypass roads and sudden road closures
Yesterday morning was bad, given the events in Eli and the killing of the two youths from Krayot.
You could sense an even harsher atmosphere than usual.
Before we visited Qabalan we drove on bypass roads, alternatives to the main routes, which have been closed because of their proximity to the road to the settlements. Nadim explains in detail the cost of these closures: a journey of a few minutes now takes twenty minutes or longer.
At the Qabalan municipal building, a discussion with the head of the municipality. He told us on our previous visit about a problem with medical services. Qabalan is a “district center” for medical services, but staff shortages prevent it from providing appropriate care to the area’s villages. Naomi had been in contact with “Doctors for Human Rights,” who promised to come to Qabalan regularly with examination equipment and a pharmacy. We hoped they’d already made a connection, but that hadn’t yet happened.
Then the head of the municipality described how complicated it was to deal with sudden, unplanned road closures. A person who wants to go to Nablus “bets” on a certain direction, and when he discovers the road is closed he searches for alternatives. So, an engineer who was to come from Nablus in the morning hasn’t arrived until the afternoon. He shared his concerns about the road closures, in particular the one passing the Rechalim settlement, which is expanding in the direction of Highway 60. After we left Nadim showed us the situation on the ground, and how he thinks they’d solve the problem, if and when they do. Three kilometers will become ten or more, to get to the road to Nablus and Ramallah.
We finished by buying vegetables from the seller at the exit from Qabalan, who was also anticipating the day he’d no longer be allowed to set up his stand there.