It is being touted as part of a peace plan, but Jonathan Cook finds only a wasteland in the West Bank
From the offputting concrete edifice that confronts a visitor to Abu Dis, the significance of this West Bank town – past and present – is not immediately obvious.
The eight metre-high grey slabs of Israel’s separation wall silently attest to a divided land and a quarter-century of a failed Middle East peace process.
The entrance to Abu Dis could not be more disconcerting, given reports that Donald Trump’s administration intends it to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, in place of Jerusalem.
The wall, and the security cameras lining the top of it, are the legacy of battles for control of Jerusalem’s borders. Sections of concrete remain charred black by fires residents set years ago in the forlorn hope of weakening the structure and bringing it down.
Before the wall was erected more than a decade ago, Abu Dis had a spectacular view across the valley to Jerusalem’s Old City and the iconic golden-topped Dome of the Rock, less than three kilometres away. It was a few minutes’ drive – or an hour’s hike – to Al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the reputed location of Jesus’s crucifixion.
Now, for many of the 13,000 inhabitants, Jerusalem might as well as be on another planet. They can no longer reach its holy places, markets, schools or hospitals.
Abu Dis, say its residents, is hemmed in…