About ten days ago, as I was headed off to a conference in memory of Ibrahim Abu Lughod at Bir Zeit University (outside Ramallah), I was only able to get about 75 meters to my destination.
My leased car, which had been parked on the street, suddenly had three flat tires, all at once.
Of course, it was not an accident.
All three tires had the cap removed from the air valve.
Two of the tires, it turned out, had been slashed.
One result: I never got to the conference at Bir Zeit University…
Yes, this is the same neighborhood in Dahiet al-Bariid (on the JERUSALEM side of The Wall) where I received death threats, written (in Arabic) on the windshield and (in English) on the window of driver’s side of the car, in August 2009. [Our earlier report in that is posted here…]
This is about 150 meters or so from the observation towers of the IDF Central Command Headquarters in Neve Yaakov. It is around the corner from Ahmad Tibi’s house. It is up one level from the World Bank office in Jerusalem (East Jerusalem).
Note: Before The Wall came here, they used to say the World Bank was in ar-Ram, and this was the supposedly “neutral” place where the Geneva Initiative people used to meet every month, the Israeli team and the Palestinian team. All that is now gone, long gone…
As The Wall was being constructed, almost all of Dahiet al-Bariid was going to be immured. Most of Dahiet al-Bariid (except for some meters of land down by the road going to Atarot and Qalandia, ending around the “jisr” where the water pipes come from Ramallah) was just outside (but immediately adjacent to) the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality” boundaries drawn unilaterally by Israel after its conquest in the June 1967 war. When it became evident that The Wall would sever the neighborhood from Jerusalem, a number of residents and the Christian institutions in the southern part of the neighborhood petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to stay in Jerusalem. The Israeli Supreme Court said yes, apparently before I came here, and now takes this decision into account when dealing with any problems in this area. But the Israeli military did not make the changes on the ground that would enact this Supreme Court decision. Even after The Wall was closed here, at the beginning of September 2008, the “ar-Ram” checkpoint still remained in place until mid-February 2009. During that terrible time, there was no way in or out except through that miserable “ar-Ram” checkpoint, which was a particularly and notoriously bad one. Everytime you needed fresh food, or medicine, you had to get in line at the checkpoint, for at least half an hour, and be subject to teeth-grinding, stomach-pain humilation. On the day the “ar-Ram” checkpoint was finally removed, the Commander of Qalandia Checkpoint was there (“Captain Uri”), and I asked him what the status of the neighborhood was, now — was it finally and clearly Jerusalem, I asked? Who said that? he asked. The Israeli Supreme Court, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, I replied. “No”, he told me, “this is a Kaf ha-Teva” (“manteqa tamas”, or seam zone), “We have to let the negotiators do their work”…
Well, that could take a good long time.
Meanwhile, no law authority comes to this neighborhood, though it seems to be under the jurisdiction of the Israeli police in Binyamina, on the other side of the Hizma checkpoint, on Road 60 in the West Bank — though the police officers there don’t readily admit responsibility, and don’t know the area, because they apparently never come here.
For the moment, that’s all I have to say.