Shu'afat refugee camp, Jaba (Lil), Hizma, Turmusaya

Observers: 
Hanna G. (translating), Kamal (driver), Anat T. (reporting and photographing
Apr-5-2021
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Morning
עמק החקלאות הפורה וחגורת המאחזים מצפון
הבנייה הצפופה במחנה הפליטים שועפאט

In Jerusalem, the checkpoints of the neighborhoods beyond the wall were open both during the last closureinfo-icon and during the holiday season for blue certificate holders and work permit holders (not merchants). We were as usual impressed by the overcrowding, dirt and illegal construction. From there we drove north through Jaba (not blocked) and Hizma (without tests). All along Road 60 there are signs of expansion and deepening of the quality of life of the settlements close to the main axis. We traveled following Yesh Din's report of an attack on a Palestinian farmer from the Esh Kodesh outpost, and saw that in Shilo block a belt of outposts and settlements was being formed on the hills around the large Palestinian agricultural valley of the Turmusaya. The aim of the settlers is  to block the  Palestinian villages in the valley below and to prevent their expansion, to hinder the working of the fields and the shepherds with their flocks.  The settlement blocs are the biggest checkpoints for the Palestinians. They  are an important addition to  all the other barriers  and the  bureaucracy which the Palestinians suffer from.

6.45 Shuafat refugee camp

We meet two young residents of the camp with blue certificates who returned from night work at Gad Dairies in the Tel Aviv area.  They sounds happy, and said they signed up for citizenship. May there be more like them.

The children are on vacation during the week, so there are almost no buses and Corona tests are not made for those moving to Jerusalem. And yet there is a traffic jam on the way to the exit checkpoint. There is no vaccination tent near the checkpoint, but the blue certificate holders have been vaccinated and the corona condition is improving. There are only a few who walk, most of them in cars. The illegal construction of high-rises that are almost adjacent to each other (and without appropriate foundations, according to the information we received) continues. We are aware of the demolition of smaller home extensions, and the municipality's planning and enforcement policy is unclear. Maybe waiting for the towers to collapse.

A large team of security personnel of various types (we counted about 10) check and walk around the checkpoint. At the exit of the checkpoint there are signs with two closed doors that guarantee community administration services (community center) and emergency services along with telephones. We meet two young residents of the camp with blue certificates who returned from night work at Gad Dairies in the Tel Aviv area. Sounds pleased, and said they signed up for citizenship. More the better.

The children are on vacation during the week, so there are almost no buses and Corona tests  are not made for those entering  Jerusalem. And yet there is a traffic jam on the way to the exit of the  checkpoint. There is no vaccination tent near the checkpoint, but the blue certificate holders have been vaccinated and the corona position  is improving. There are only a few who walk, and  most of them in cars. The illegal construction of high-rises that are almost adjacent to each other (and without appropriate foundations, according to the information we received) continues. We are aware of the demolition of smaller homes, and the municipality's planning and  the enforcement policy is unclear. Maybe they are just  waiting for the towers to collapse.

Jaba Road - Travel on Road 60 in a northerly direction and photography at all kinds of intersections.

The Sha'ar Binyamin shopping center designated for Israeli-Palestinian industry contains only Jewish businesses.

At the Migron-Mikhmash junction, there are tempting signs to buy houses in Mikhmash, and on the other hand, Migron, which was not evacuated, but has just been  moved a little to the side. Above it on Kochav Yaakov hill, a large urban settlement

Texture of Life Road near the Ofra-Ein Yabrud junction connects the Palestinian localities on both sides of Road 60. There are a minimum of such necessary connecting roads in the places we traveled

Turmusaya - We came to see the beautiful village and the extensive agricultural valley of the residents of the area. Olives, plowed fields, a farm with buildings that the owner of the place dreamed of using for leisure activities as well, and was attacked by setter thugs. The village is really beautiful, and the valley  greets  us with green of all shades. But what stands out most is the accumulation of settlements and outposts on the hills to the north, west and east - Shilo - block - forming a thickening belt around the Palestinian settlements in the area. There are quarry marks for the Shvut Rachel and Shilo extensions, and also a hill to the south with an antenna tower and an access road. 

The outposts with promising names: Holy Fire (Esh Kodesh), Angels of Peace (Malachei hashalom), Adei Ad (to eternity) etc. are hidden among the slopes of the hills. From there, violent raids are carried  out on the farmers in the area – farmers are beaten , olives poisoned  and damage caused  to crops. Saturday is also a kosher day for this activity: https://news.walla.co.il/item/3427172   What is supposed to be a day of prayer is used by the settlers for  more enjoyable activities such as the above. Nothing ever comes of the complaints made to the police or army. The settlers are a law unto themselves

The truth is, I have never been in the area and I came back feeling very desperate and depressed. The wheels of politics and governance are stuck, but the settlers and their emissaries in the government ministries, the JNF and the settlement unit in the Israel Lands Administration are not resting for a moment.