Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Thu 9.7.09, Morning
Ora K., Michaela R. (reporting)
It appears as though all the evils of the Samaria checkpoints have been concentrated into Wadi Nar. We witnessed things we had not seen for years. Our earlier feeling that this checkpoint might be redundant has been reversed recently in view of the deteriorating situation.
6:30 Sheikh Saed
Tranquil; few crossing
Three young men, almost boys, are detained. They were reluctant to speak, and seemed unconcerned.
While we were there, a man whose documents were checked crossed into the monastery yard to work on one of the bulldozers parked there. The yard is in ruins, looking like a construction site. Where is the church???
As we got out of the car and headed for the checkpoint we saw a young man escorted by two soldiers to the
detention cubicle. Four of his friends, all young men, stood in a line next to their car, facing the "wall", i.e. the cliff rising from the checkpoint to the pillbox. The car was open, including bonnet and trunk. After a while, the detained man returned and all five waited in the car for their documents to be returned.
A bus too was detained near the grocery shop. The driver who went down to the checkpoint was rudely and loudly reprimanded.
Another commercial vehicle arriving from the south was thoroughly checked. All the cardboard boxes were opened, and once in a while the soldier/policeman would point to a certain box and require the man to tear the wrapping. The contents of a large kitbag, mostly personal belongings, were spilled onto the asphalt. The soldiers would point to an article by kicking it lightly and demanding that it be shown close up. Bottles were opened to be sniffed by the soldiers.
Subsequently we saw another two young men directed to the detention shelter, and an elderly man ordered to stand while the vehicle was checked. He watched the soldiers rummaging through the car, but was then ordered to turn around and face the cliff. What does a man feel, watching the soldiers rummaging through his personal belongings -- and then prevented from seeing whether anything is taken or damaged?
The checking of documents took longer than usual, and because many cars were checked thoroughly, the area was frequently crowded, blocking the flow of traffic.
The checks and delays took place in both directions.
Some ten minutes after our arrival, a military policeman came up to us and presented himself as the commander. He asked us to move back. (We were standing where we always stand, near the concrete fence marked with a yellow line.) He claimed we were allowed to stand only further back, and that he had called "Headquarters" to find out. He refused to say anything more, and "HQ" did not have a name. We stayed where we were.
Kedar -- construction is very advanced, half the hill is now levelled, and supporting walls demarcate plots.
If it had crossed our minds that the harsh scenes in Wadi Nar were due to some alert, the peaceful Az-Za'ayyem checkpoint (which serves as the entrance to Jerusalem) eliminated that possibility. We saw no detentions, or any other undue checks beyond the routine.