The Wall — and my neighbors being immured

The Associated Press has just posted this photo of the present situation in my neighborhood:

The Wall in Dahiet al-Bariid - AP Photo by Muhammed Muheisen

This photo is interesting for several reasons:
(1) the main intrigue is that the woman is rather exposed. My next door neighbor puts on her scarf and robe to hang out her laundry. It is rare to see this state of undress, no matter how hot the weather, and no matter how messy the chore…

(2) the photo shows some of the razor barbed wire that is being placed on the top of The Wall in our area — I have not seen it anywhere else — apparently in preparation for the onslaught of hoards of barbarians once the last two giant slabs are put in place to immure my neighbors. There is, in fact, a double row of razor barbed-wire.

(3) the photo is taken from the West Bank side (the razor barbed wire is only on the Jerusalem side of The Wall in our area.

(4) the photo shows that this house has all new glass windows — evidence of the construction boom on the Jerusalem side in our area, where ruthless market forces are at work. (Everybody here is building, thinking they will cash in soon on their new status, with great demand for housing in Jerusalem from both Palestinians and righteous internationals. On the West Bank side, by contrast, the market forces have caused the value of property to plummet, and many dwellings are simply being abandoned.

(5) But, this building boom is all being done in a political and legal vacuum — because the Israelis say they have no responsibility, this is area B and area C. The building permits are being issued by Ar-Ram municipality — which is notoriously sensitive to, um, there is no good way to say this, financial incentives. Yet, once the two giant slabs are in place, Ar-Ram will not have any further control of the area on the Jerusalem side of The Wall. As the Israelis are fully aware of this, yet say they can do nothing, one has to ask what their considerations are? What will they do, exactly, when The Wall is finally closed (according to rumor, in the next two weeks)? Will they demolish a few buildings? Or….what???

Here is a photo, taken by myself in June, of a skyscraper being built on a lot that was previously (until very recently) zoned as a “green area” — not permitted for building — just a few meters from my windows.

The lot was rezoned quite recently. The construction is proceeding apace — despite the fact that a twin tower built beside it has been deemed (by Ar-Ram municipality) to be illegal, and its nine stories should be reduced to four. Of course, this has not happened, because Ar-Ram will soon have no authority here. Everybody knows what is happening, and nobody is doing anything.

These new buildings are a great hazard to the area, and to their possible future inhabitants. There is no access, except through a very narrow street running perpendicular to The Wall. All the neighbors protested a few months ago, but they have all dropped out now. There are clearly powerful financial interests behind this construction, and the people said they were afraid. They have also reportedly been offered major incentives. One house next to the narrow access road will give a few feet from its garden, in exchange for the construction of a second story (for family expansion, or for renting), for example …
Another photo of big machine lifting concrete blocks - 25 June 08