'Anata-Shu'afat, Jerusalem

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Rachel V., Zvia S., Rachel A. (reporting)

In general: Entrance restraints on Palestinians due to the Sarona attack in Tel-Aviv.  No special events.
According to the morning paper, permits for entry into Jerusalem for Ramadan were reduced.

9:20 Olive Terminal

East Jerusalem, in the A-Tur area, was more than usually quiet. Little traffic in the streets, and in one spot the police blocked exit from the main street.
In front of the checkpoint there was a police/army position (a vehicle blocking the road) which prevented passage of vehicles.  We parked nearby and walked to the checkpoint area.  Few were crossing into Jerusalem at this hour.  Buses were waiting to take worshippers into the Old City.

According to the soldiers, men over 45 and women of all ages may cross for prayers.  Labourers and merchants are prevented. This does not match the newspaper report that 83,000 permits issued for Ramadan have been frozen. Will a labourer or merchant over 45 cross?  We didn't ask. Those who came were festively dressed and crossed in small groups towards the buses.

We moved towards the Palestinian side of the checkpoint.  A soldier told us that they're expecting 40% of the worshippers to arrive this morning.
Plenty of police and army, and the atmosphere was calm.

We decided to go on to Shuafat (Anata), and reached the checkpoint easily..  The road was calm; according to our Jerusalem mate, traffic on this road is generally hectic; today was not characteristic.


10:55 Shuafat

The parking lot near the checkpoint is full.  The area is neglected and full of garbage. Very few crossing. We decided to enter, and the absence of crowds made the garbage and neglect more conspicuous -- walls covered in soot due to garbage burning and smoke grenades (according to our Jerusalemite).  Shops closed for Ramadan.  Only a man from Jericho selling grapes, despite Ramadan.

On exiting from the same checkpoint, we joined another 6-7 persons waiting for the turnstile to open.  A female soldier (or policewoman?) announced there was no crossing here, only via Qalandia or Olive Terminal, and a man had to go back in and perform all the detour to reach Al-Aqsa.  Subsequently, the same happened to a few more.  It seems they did not live up to the limitations of their permits.

We were detained for a few minutes for a check whose purpose was not clear.