Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Sheikh Saed, Wed 17.12.08, Morning
Netta A., Anat T. (reporting)
6:45 Sheikh Saed
The dip in the road which used to be an unpassable pool of water two weeks ago has been covered with an asphalt bump. We don't know whether this is due to our efforts in the municipality, but this is a good thing
There are almost no passengers at the crossing. The checkpoint commander is hostile towards us. A meeting with Mas'ud Mashara whose home is below the checkpoint, and the gate to it locked. The officer, M., promised to check the matter again, but is evading. The sight of unemployed and aimless young men at the top of the hill is depressing and worrisome. It will be several years before they can apply for a work permit in Jerusalem. What will they do till then?
7:30 The climb to Ras Al-Amud
A grey and scary zeppelin hovers over the slopes of the Kidron on the ascent from the American road to Ras Al-Amud (ahead of the settlement opposite the police station). Netta thinks it's Shabak (General Security Services), Anat thinks of hovering in a zeppelin in English skies. We go down to check what is gong on behind an unknown fence with a sign saying: "a school for the girls of East Jerusalem will be built here." Behind the gate extensive archaeological digs are in progress. It appears that the Antiquities Authority has discovered a Canaanite site from the bronze age (3000 B.C.). The zepplin is filming the site from above for purposes of documentation. We suggest that the appearance of the zeppelin should have been publicized in the neighbourhood beforehand -- it must be a very alarming sight to many people. The inspector from the Antiquities Authority says the construction of the school will not suffer -- in another day or two the finds will be removed, and they will leave the site. The workers report additional such salvage digs performed in the West Bank.
Construction on the Moskovitz settlement site opposite the police station continues apace -- cranes and bulldozers.
8:15 Wadi Nar
Delays on the route heading to the West Bank. Every vehicle and its contents, except for transits, is checked. The line increases, then diminishes upon our arrival (because of our arrival?) A few taxis on the way to Al Ezariya are also detained, but then released more expeditiously than we ahve usually observed in the past.
9:10 Sheikh Jarakh
Two pup-tents on the earth of the empty plot which has been "turned". No vehicular access, barely accessible to pedestrians. Um-Kamal, the evicted widow, is not there -- she has gone to the opthalmologist. Those neighbours present tell us that yesterday police and army forces came together with municipality inspectors and destroyed the two big tents, expropriated the small generator, and ploughed up the land to hinder pedestrian access and the setting up of tents. The neighbours are residents of the UN housing units constructed in 1956 for refugees who opted to give up their refugee status, but registration in the Land Registry Office was delayed. They tell a tale of interminable legal proceedings and injustices in Israeli courts, and add that the eviction of Um-Kamal and another family is also due to negligent treatment of their appeal to the High Court. At present they are represented by a distinguished Israeli Arab lawyer, and all the neighbours (27 families) are awaiting the results.
The story does not end. It's painful to hear the harsh words about our legal system which we Israelis consider a beacon of democracy and civil indiscrimination.
Netta takes a few pictures, but it's not easy to follow the ins and outs of the legal discussions, past and present. What is clear is that massive support and sympathy for this just and non-violent protest is imperative.