Residents of the beleaguered village of El-Walajeh were given notice on November 12 that the Ein Yael checkpoint, located between Jerusalem and Har Gilo at the southern exit of Jerusalem, is going to be moved deeper inside the Palestinian side of the village. As some readers may recall, Walajeh is a village on Jerusalem’s southern flank that is entirely surrounded by the separation barrier. Since 1967, Walajeh’s inhabitants have lived in a Kafka-esque situation, with their village technically located inside Israel’s expanded borders, but with villagers never given Israeli residency (they are considered West Bankers and thus are not permitted inside Jerusalem). As a result, the villagers’ presence in their own village is, under Israeli law, illegal, and their homes there are, by definition, illegal.
This move of the checkpoint will further undermine the village residents’ access to their lands (already undermined by the separation barrier). It will also cut them off – deliberately – from the Ein Hanya spring and related water resources they need to cultivate their land. As we reported in previous edition of Insiders’ Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Municipality is planning the development of a national park in that area, the Refaim park (Plan 12222), which will cut El Walajah residents from their land and further deepen an exclusively Israeli footprint in that area.