Abu Dis, Sheikh Saed, Fri 19.9.08, Morning
Hagit S. and a friend (Amira)
Third Friday in the month of Ramadan
Spontaneously we went to Sheikh Saed, that was left aside after all the assignments. On the way to the checkpoint, down the hill of Jabel Mukaber, we were stopped by a BP Jeep, and the soldiers did not prevent us from going on, after finding out that we did belong to Machsom Watch.
At the checkpoint itself I saw for the first time the mass of metal fences, the carousel pass ways, and the paved road at the entrance to the village, which is blocked by an iron gate. The last time I was there (over a year ago), the checkpoint seemed much more temporary. BP man was in the shed, and another one (armed but not in uniform) stood at the other side of the locked and closed iron gate.
The place seemed quiet. Men and women went through in a slow trickle on their way to Jerusalem. Some of them, young ones too, had blue IDs, others with green IDs and permits. The policeman knows most of the people going through, and the passage is short, whithout checkup.
We were asked "not to interfere" and climbed into the neighborhood in order to talk with the taxi drivers. The very same taxis that work only inside the neighborhood itself, and have no license and no insurance. and stand near the entrace in some hope for people to drive. We walked in the streets up the neighborhood, and except of a few people on their way to the the checkpoint, every thing is deserted and stores are closed asexpected.
About 500 meters from the checkpoint of Sheikh Saed, on the road going through Silwan towards the old city, two BP men stopped a van that drove before us. It was a regrlar number 5 bus going through Jerusalem neighborhoods. One of the youngsters who was told to descend the van, a citizen of Jabel Mukaber, who has a blue ID was detained by the policemen. I walked over in order to ask for the reason of the detention, and was told not to interfere. We parked on the side of the road, and a few minutes later the youngster was released, and we offered him a ride. The man was on his way to pray in El-Aksa mosk. He had prayed there last Friday, and they did not give him any trouble. He spoke fluent Hebrew, and told us that he works in Tel Aviv, and goes there everyday by car. Tel Aviv, he telss us, is a totally different world. They do not detain and do not hussle and do not search Arabs. He sits in restaurants with Jewish people he works with, and there are no problems.
We let him off at his destination, and kept driving along the wall. There were many blue uniform policemen, and BP men. The traffic of buses vans and privates cars was heavy, and most of it was sent to the road going around the wall. There were many pedestrians in front of the entrance gates.
The streets of Jerusalem near the old city were full of traffic for a long time.