Tour of the enclaves in the Jerusalem area

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Michaela R., Neta E.


Translator: Charles K.


This time the minibus was almost full, almost all of them our supporters. Some members of Machsom Watch from everywhere in the country. Bless you for coming.

The places we visit are almost unknown, particularly because they’re hemmed in from all sides – in other words, they’re enclaves.

The tour began at Kafr Aqab.

It’s very difficult to explain how residents of this village, located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, but nevertheless outside of the wall surrounding the city, must enter Jerusalem through the Qalandiya checkpoint.

The locality doesn’t receive municipal services from the city – no garbage collection, no Bezeq phone lines, no police, etc. But they pay municipal taxes in hard cash.

Recently new members were selected for the local council (all volunteers). We were introduced to Bassem, the new vice chairman. He met us at municipal headquarters, and accompanied us during our entire tour.

He expresses himself wonderfully (in Hebrew), and is a fine actor. He tells about the village’s difficulties, giving examples from his own life. His descriptions, filled with humor, emphasize the absurd and painful situation in which the residents here live, as do the Palestinians in general under the occupation.

Then we went to the village of Qalandiya, where the wall cutting them off from Jerusalem was completed a few months earlier.

We visited one of the houses that remained on the other side of the wall and in effect was part of the Jerusalem area. The inhabitants of the house have green (Palestinian) ID cards, which makes them illegal occupants of their home. They’re simply trapped between two walls. They contacted Dahleh, an attorney, for help obtaining Jerusalem residency; of course, he’ll charge them a lot of money – and their chances????? They’re pensioners – how can they afford a lawsuit?

The meeting with the family left a very strong impression on us all.


We continued to Bir Nabala and visited the grandiose wedding halls that now stand empty. Here’s a video about them by B’Tselem.


Then we reached Beit Ijza, trapped on the border of Giv’on Hahadasha. We met M., a hydraulic engineer, who always helps us.


On the way, looking out over the village of Duku, the Ayalot basin-Giv’at Ze’ev, it becomes obvious that the fence is not for security but in order to expand the settlements at the expense of Palestinian land.


We concluded with falafel in pita on the Jerusalem-Ramallah road, near Kafr Aqab.