'Isawiya (East Jerusalem), A-Tur (East Jerusalem), Sur Baher (East Jerusalem)

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Rahel M., Michaela R. (reporting)


The "inner" checkpoints of Jerusalem -- the failure of a campaign or collective punishment?

In view of the winter break in the educational system, and the Christian holidays, we decided on an alternative route: to inspect  the checkpoints set up inside the city at the start of the present wave of terrorist attacks.

The entrance to Sur Baher

No checkpoint. Only concrete blocks and a plastic booth, the remains of modern urban props in a city gone out of its mind.  No checkpoints in Jabel Mukkaber either, not even near the Nofei Zion settlement, only relics the same urban props.

We continued to A-tur

Here too there were no checkpoints, not even the presence of border-police. An ordinary Saturday morning atmosphere, little traffic, even the daily traffic jam near Mokassad was absent.

The old checkpoint between Issawiya and the Hebrew University campus

Only a border-police vehicle whose team is busy viewing some distant object, not checking those crossing -- of which there were almost none.  But there is more of that urban furniture here: in addition to the rocks which have been blocking the passage of cars for years, some reddish concrete balls have been added, with a plastic ribbon above them.  An opening of about 1 meter remains to allow for pedestrian crossing.

The main entrance to Issawiya

The team was busy with invigilation, the passage of vehicles was free, aside from the fact that the concrete blocks slow down traffic.

It can be said the the "new" checkpoints have been dismantled.  Has there been a change in the security situation? Hardly.  The fact is that without magnometers it was possible to carry a knife or some other weapon bought in any shop in the western city.  Terrorist attacks by ramming a car? There are no signs by which to recognise a perpetrator's intention... Let us remember that those who cross are Jerusalem residents carrying a blue ID.

So what was the point of those checkpoints?  And the cost in money and manpower?