'Anata-Shu'afat, 'Isawiya (East Jerusalem), Al-Ezariya, Container (Wadi Nar)
After many weeks away, we returned to our usual shift. There were very few changes. The arrangements around Isawiya continue as they were, i.e. there is open entry to French Hill and to the road leading to Maaleh Adumim, but the exit to Mount Scopus is still blocked. There is no longer a military or police presence there. What has happened is that the place from which vehicles once emerged from Isawiya to Mount Scopus has now become an additional parking area for cars.
Azariah remains a mixed message – some lovely, beautifully designed buildings and chic shops have sprouted up, but the filth and neglect get worse each time we visit. Even the area around the checkpoint at Wadi Nar has become yet another dumping ground for abandoned cars, adding to the multitude of other such lots. However, the Wadi Nar checkpoint which was once a bustling area with hundreds if not thousands of vehicles and workers pouring through is now very quiet. Perhaps in the early hours of the morning the situation is different, but we have been going out at approximately the same time for a decade and there is a profound difference.
The caravans which were set up on the road from Azariah to Wadi Nar which were to have housed the evacuees from Khan el Ahmar have been removed and the place has turned into yet another garbage heap. The Bedouins who have been living just south of that area continue to be there.
What was once looked upon as abnormal has become routine.