A short story of Wadi al-Shami and Tabalyah
By Benji Boyadgian
“In August 2014, during a tense summer where the cyclical violence reached its peak, in the shadow of the headlines, the construction of the highway connecting the settlement of Har Homa to Road 60 started. It was the first phase of construction, bisecting Wadi al-Shami and somehow announcing what was yet to come. Since then, the master plan for the extension of the settlement into the valley has been drawn, and this area has often been in the news because of its controversial nature; the construction of settlements in ‘East Jerusalem,’ on land annexed after 1967.
During the pandemic, one could argue that two things did not stall: destruction and construction. While we were all in lockdown, construction gathered pace, especially controversial projects such as the expansion of Road 60 in the ‘West Bank.’ In early spring 2021, geo-technicians were scouting the hill of Tabalyah just northwest of the valley, analyzing the rock formations. Like in 2014, 2021 saw the cycle of violence reach its peak. A few months ago, the second phase of the highway and the expansion of the Giv’at HaMatos settlement on the hill of Tabalyah began. Some archeological excavations uncovered a Roman period quarry, at the backdrop, an ever-expanding city, a fragmented city clad with stones.”