I am still having trouble uploading pictures, but hope to get this sorted soon.
Today me and another teacher, who has been in Abu Dis for three months, went for a walk around the town.
In the jargon of the misnamed Oslo 'peace' accords Abu Dis is a 'zone A' area. This means it is under full Israeli military control. Walking through the town center you see the squat green Israeli army jeeps, with iron mesh across their windows. These soldiers invade homes and schools in Abu Dis to look for 'stone throwers'. They shut off roads in the town and detain and search local men. This is the reality of occupation.
Israel also controls the water supply in Abu Dis. In summer, when the water supply is under pressure, Israel can cut off the supply to Palestinian homes in order that the nearby Israeli settlements can maintain their swimming pools and garden sprinklers. As a response to this threat, the roofs of the Palestinian houses are dotted with water storage tanks.
Abu Dis is really a suburb of Jerusalem. In the past, it provided a lot of the produce for the east Jerusalem markets. Many residents of Abu Dis taught in schools and worked in hospitals in Jerusalem. But the separation wall built by Israel cuts Abu Dis off from Jerusalem and has devastated lives and the local economy. Unemployment now stands at 60% and the vital trade links have dried up. Families and friends are trapped on opposite sides of the wall.