Al Walaja - A suffocated village

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Lea; Translator: Natanya

A shift in the direction of al-Walaja, south of Jerusalem, 14.3.2022

I'm in Jerusalem, checking in Waze how to get to Walaja and Waze asks for permission to drive on a "dangerous road" (that is, in Area A).

Starts on Route 3755 west of Teddy Stadium (later, the road curves south). A sign announces Emek Refaim National Park. To the left is the entrance to Ein Yael, then to the right is the entrance to the Biblical Zoo. Spring. The scenery is beautiful, cyclists riding peacefully, a real idyll.

Suddenly - Arab buildings on the left: the signs announce Ein Haniya, part of Jerusalem Park. The mention of this site expropriated from the Palestinians will follow.

To the right of the road, completely normal infrastructure works which according to the pipe rings which are piled up is for a new sewer line. According to the coils of the telephone lines - maybe that too. The way forward a square. The first exit - a well-fenced security road on both sides, and indeed a Border Police vehicle was observed there. The second exit - a checkpoint at the entrance to the settlement of Har Gilo, a "settled" settlement, bourgeois, houses with red roofs. The third exit - a red sign warning of the ban on entering Area A. I continue towards El Walaja. To the right up the hill, the separation wall between Walaja and Mount Gilo. A Palestinian driver stops to explain to me in Hebrew that I was mistaken about the road and showed me where the road was which he thought I was

looking for. When I said that I was from Machsomwatch and wanted to find out what was happening there, he greeted me with pleasure.

I stopped at the grocery store. The store owner says that for several years he has had a B'Tselem camerainfo-icon. The village does not suffer from either the neighboring settlers or the army, the only problem - they feel suffocated, they have lost land. In the store hangs a sign with an address thanking the store owner for his contribution to the local Scout movement, against the backdrop of a picture of Ein Haniya, reminds me of the photo signs of Al Aqsa, a memory of a conquered place.

At the grocery store I also met an Israeli citizen, who owns a house in Tira and a second house here, and also owns a bakery. He seems like a successful young entrepreneur.

Further down the road, a checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Jala, a Border Police officer (the base of Company T next to the checkpoint) is trying to find out what I want. I turn south. To the left is the compound of "Talita Kumi". Then through a tunnel, the road joins Route 60 south just south of the Tunnel Checkpoint. The entire road from the Rosemaryn junction in Gilo to the Gush Etzion junction is now undergoing a massive widening, a change of order in Genesis.