Container (Wadi Nar)
We went first to Anata at just about the time that children were getting out of school. We noticed about 10 young girls, most of them appeared to be 3rd or 4th graders walking on the sidewalk along side vehicular traffic. It was quite hot and this would be a short cut for them. As they approached the checkpoint, two border police approached them and obviously scolded them and would not allow them to proceed across the checkpoint. Several of the children retraced their steps and went the long way through the designated path for pedestrians. Apparently two ore three of the girls managed to climb over the metal fence. Considering the nonchalant attitude of the children as they approached the checkpoint, we had to assume that on previous occasions they were allowed to take this short cut. Like so many other things, it was a matter of luck, and this time, the luck was not in their favor.
Very little traffic in Eyzariya.
Container (Wadi Nar)
We proceeded to Wadi Nar and were approached, almost immediately by a border policeman. He was very familiar with machsomwatch and was quite pleasant toward us. He said that just that morning, they had seized a terrorist who came with 300,000 dollars or shekels (it was not clear) for distribution in Abu Dis. He also said that almost every evening, there is some kind of hostile activity near the checkpoint. He said that the water supply had been cut; fires had been set, etc.
A second border policeman then approached, a Bedouin from the north. He said that all the male members of his tribe enter the army even though they do not get the benefits coming to them. He complained that his family was not allowed to build a home and had to live with his grandparents. But then he said, “But what can we do. That’s the way things are”.
Traffic moved quite smoothly although the occasional car was pulled over for inspection. No vehicles coming from the south were stopped. Vans were lined up to transport workers, but during the time we were there (between 3:00 and 4:00 p,m.), no workers came through,
We went first to Anata. Traffic was moving smoothly in both directions. We arrived at about 2:00 p.m., after school dismissal, so there was much less traffic than usual. Apparently, in honor of Pesach (or Obama, or just because the situation was getting out of hand), the area of the parking lot was somewhat cleaned up, although piles of rubbish were still to be found along the barbed wire.
Al-Ezariya was quiet. About two years ago, with help from the US government, a real effort was made to clean up the place, expand the roads, plant trees, and give the place a new look. The efforts worked for a while, but the place is once again getting its old seedy look back. The improvements are not being maintained and the sparks of optimism that came along with the refurbishing are much dimmer.
There was a lot of traffic at Wadi Nar, but it moved smoothly in both directions. New stop lights have been installed in both directions. It is difficult to understand to what purpose they were placed there, but such measures are yet more investment in maintaining the status quo. Vans were parked ready to bring the workers back to the Bethlehem side, but with the longer days, no workers were yet around to utilize them
We went first to Anata. The parking lot was strewn with filth and broken glass. It appears that the place is never cleaned. While traffic and individuals went through their respective checkpoints with little delay, the border police on duty had some need to shout at people through loud speakers.
Ezariya: When we arrived at Ezariya, there was a (blue) police patrol checking cars leaving the area with the result of a traffic backup that extended into the middle of Ezariya – up to the place of the mosque.
Wadi Naar: We were very apprehensive about travelling to Wadi Naar via the new road because it was already in bad condition before the storms a week ago, (especially at the second turn) going up. We contacted our former driver Sammy to meet us in Ezariya and take us up so that we would be able to see the condition of the road before venturing out on our own. The area with the pot holes is indeed worse after the bad weather of last week and we would strongly advise against using that road. Sammy then took us down and showed us another road that leads into the village but then continues to the checkpoint. The new road intersects with the road that we used to take from the “pishpash” in Abu Dis. The latter road appeared to be much safer and that is what we will be taking henceforth.
There was very little traffic at Wadi Naar. The few cars that went through in both directions did so with no delay.
Today was the last day of Eid el Adha, so there was very little traffic. Children were off from school so things were very quiet at the Anata checkpoint. Mercifully, there was none of the shouting through the loudspeakers which has become characteristic (and offensive) at this checkpoint.
Almost all shops, except for food stores were closed in Azariah. Also, at the Wadi Nar crossing, there was very little traffic and almost no commercial traffic. Very quiet day.
There was a lot of activity . Loads of school children were dropped off and made their way through the pedestrian checkpoint. There were also many vehicles going in both directions.
A most disturbing phenomenon of the past few weeks at Anata is that the border police seem to feel a necessity to shout through loud speakers for no apparent reason. Instead of speaking to the drivers or to people in the area, they use loud speakers creating a most oppressive atmosphere.
Also, it must be mentioned that the parking area, which is part of the
: About a year or two ago, the area got a real facelift. The road was expanded into four lanes – two in each direction – with a tree planted esplanade in the middle. Many shops got a face lift and there was a definite area to upgrade the whole place. Unfortunately, the area is reverting to its previous state. Trash piles up, and there is a feeling of neglect
An unusually high volume of traffic. Huge numbers of vehicles of all kinds going in both directions. During the whole time we were there, there were two cars heading south pulled over, quickly checked, allowed to continue, and then another two cars pulled over, checked, etc. The checking time was very fast – no one was kept waiting more than 5 to 7 minutes. No vehicles heading toward the container were stopped.
The Anata checkpoint was very busy with vehicles going in both directions without delay. Also, large numbers of school children were walking along the path leading to the crossing of the Palestinian side. There were very few people entering the Israeli side. The parking lot for vehicles is getting filthier by the day. There are large areas of broken glass which remain untended to.
Traffic moved very smoothly at Wadi Nar. During the time we were there, no vehicles were stopped and all were allowed to pass without incident.