Sheikh Saed and Shuafat Refugee Camp CPs in Corona days

Observers: 
Anat Tueg, telephone report; Translator:Hanna K.
Mar-16-2020
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Morning

Report in Corona days

I decided that it was worthwhile to check whether in the region of our shifts (the center of Jerusalem) the checkpoints are really closed and what the situation was in the neighbourhoods known to us, which are trapped beyond the wall. I talked by phone and by Whatsapp with two acquaintances from Sheikh Sa’ed (one a school director and one a teacher) and with the chairman of the neighbourhood committee of the refugee camp Shu'afat.

Before that I talked with Hanna B. on the general situation of the permit policy in the times – what about the passage permits for health reasons and whether there are people who cross over for work and where.

The conclustion: The reality is a bit different from the hermetic closureinfo-icon that is advertised in the media.

Conversation with Hanna B.: Generally there entrance permits are not issued. The DCO offices are closed.  Only cases of sick persons whose medical situation is serious, are allowed to cross over and in ambulances only. The Palestinian authority announced that it is not interested that Israelis enter the territories, and asked human rights organizations not to arrive, and all the foreigners indeed left. In regions where there is no grave corona situation, especially in the center, essential workers in building and exterior work are allowed to cross over with their work permits. Hanna is of the opinion that under the present condition we should not perform any action of monitoring the checkpoints.

Conversation with N. from Sheikh Sa’ed: N. has a blue ID of a Jerusalem citizen and he passes from his house at Sheikh Sa’ed to Jabel Mukabar and back as before. This is true for all the holders of blue IDs. There is no checking of particulars on the computer at the checkpoint, and there is no checking of medical questions.

As concerns the holders of green IDs who have work permits – from what he sees persons over the age of 50 also cross over, as most of them are employed in building enterprises or essential work. In his opinion, there is no checking with the employer whether the site is active or has been closed.

There is no medical clinic or emergency clinic in the neighbourhood, which is separated by means of a wall from the Jerusalem mother quarter. Up to now, there was no case of life or death, but they were told that in such a case they will have to obtain a special authorization and to arrive by ambulance to the Mukassad Hospital.

As food or other supplies are not brought to Sheikh Sa’ed by way of the checkpoint, the problem of supply from the West Bank (Beitlehem, Ramallah) arises. Now the supplies arrive only from Israel, from East Jerusalem traders, by way of Abu Dis and Azariya, on a long bypass road.

Generally, according to the instructions of the Palestinian Authority (they are considered as B Zone), everybody remains at home.

Conversation with M. from Sheih Sa’ed: M. teaches in a school at Jabel Mukabar, which is part of the Jerusalem education network. She is very active also now, when the school is closed, and teaches online lessons in different applications. I sent her the video of an Israeli mother who complains about the load of the online lessons, and she said that she had already made it public with an Arabic translation…. She doesn’t leave home so she doesn’t know what happens at the checkpoint.

Conversation with G. from the neighbourhood committee at the Shu'afat refugee camp: The Jerusalem schools to which thousands of children from the camps drive to learn at, have all been closed. Many of the neighbourhood inhabitants are Jerusalem citizens and they go to work as usual – leaving mainly in private cars, busses and even on foot, by way of the CP with just one checking post.  As far as he knows there are no temperature checks or filtering according to active employers. G. says that a guard of locals has been organized, and they identify the entrance of new persons from the West Bank, and demands that they leave. There is no food problem, but the Municipality people do not enter the neighbourhood. There is a medical clinic of the Health System, which works as usual. The passage for an urgent medical treatment is by way of the CP. All the activities of the community center and all festivities have been cancelled. Everybody stays at home and acts according to the instructions. He says that they had visits from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and from Ir Amim.