Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Sheikh Saed, Thu 19.6.08, Afternoon
3:00 till 6:00 PM
At Sheikh Sa’ad’s slope the amount of garbage has increased. We were allowed to enter through the turnstiles and the caged passage, which has been improved with more coiled, barbed wire since out last visit.
Two of the three stores are closed. Whoever had a blue Id. card has left the village. We talked to two men who are unemployed and unable to leave their ‘prison’. There will be no more petitions to the High Court, the facts on the ground have turned into a fait accompli and they are now officially considered outside the wall. However, there was no red sign prohibiting us to enter. Only schoolchildren and those with permits or blue Id’s can leave. Sometimes at the whim of a soldier the schoolchildren are also stopped. The situation is worse than ever.
We drove via the Road of the Americas to Ras El Amud and found the police station closed and abandoned, ready to be overtaken by settlers presumably. There is new graffiti along the wall – the gate to the road towards Kidmat Zion was open, but a soldier motioned us not to enter.
The entrance to the Pish-pash has become even narrower if at all possible.
We drove via A-Tur to A-Zayim and talked to the men at the grocery store. All inhabitants have blue Id’s and have left the village. They come to visit their homes during the day, afraid of being caught at night and lose their rights to Social Security and Health Insurance. Four families together rent one room in East Jerusalem. The large mansions are being cleaned and locked and maintained in expectation of better times – the situation looks bleak.
Eighteen Israeli cars were confiscated in the garage down in the village. Their owners had wanted cheap service and were fined. There is no red sign telling Israelis not to enter and indeed most cars have yellow numbers. We saw one car near the garage with a sticker “ a Jew doesn’t expel Jews”.
We saw two long lines of cars on both directions at the container. A group of workers on foot was sent back. It was not clear why and the soldiers ignored us. It turns out that the CP is being dismantled and apparently the computers do not work. All workers now have to board vans or cabs and pass the CP in a vehicle. Once in a while an empty yellow cab came from the direction of Bethlehem and made a (dangerous) U-turn to pick up some workers to transport them to the other side of the CP. We finally got through to Y. at the ‘Jerusalem Envelope’ who explained that indeed this CP is as of now only to be used by cars and no longer by pedestrians. The instruction had been sent through the internal mail-system and the Palestinians were supposedly notified (how?). Y. would ask his commander.
Three buses were held up and all its passengers had to hand in their documents. After fifteen minutes the papers were returned it is not clear how sixty documents could have been checked in such a short time. The commander told us that the current CP would be replaced by a newer more beautiful one. Meanwhile the blue police was holding up private cars in search of stolen vehicles, checking the numbers of the engines with those on the license.
We decided to take a little tour of Area E and turned around near Mishor Adumim on the Jericho Road and to take the super-highway with lighting towards the Shay Police Headquarters. We saw that much earth had been moved and mountains had been moved, clearly to accommodate the ‘extensions’ of Maaleh Adumim ‘across the road’; they are called Nof Adumim and Mevasseret Adumim. A huge bridge (now still closed) has already been constructed to facilitate access from the old part of Maaleh Adumim to its new neighborhoods in Area E. On the old road to Jerusalem we took the exit to the Border Police Headquarters and Liaison Offices where we saw the newly asphalted ‘life texture’ road down below – it is not yet in use.