The public road through Al-Walaja where we stopped was unsigned and unmarked. Students stepped off the bus to gain a clearer view of the area as our guide Shireen al-Araj—a local activist—showed large unmanned gaps in the structure, contradicting Israel’s ubiquitous justification that the wall is for “security purposes.”
Minutes after we disembarked, two police vehicles approached us. Four officers carrying assault rifles demanded we return to our vehicle and leave the area. When asked why we were being expelled, an officer responded, “because I said so.” In subsequent statements to the media, they reported that we were on a restricted military road.
However, several non-military cars were present, and in most circumstances, declaring areas as military zones requires official documentation and road signs. Wednesday, the Office of the Quartet Representative, Tony Blair, confirmed via email that the area remains open to the public, noting that they have taken many visitors there without incident, including the day prior.