Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Wed 22.7.09, Morning

Anat T., Edna P., Shira V. (reporting)

07:30  Sheikh Saed

We saw a detained man when we arrived.  He told us he was detained for about an hour and a quarter because he had parked close to the checkpoint, on the other side of the road (the Jabel Mukhaber side) where there is no sign to forbid parking. The military policeman, A., who saw us, came up to the detainee and told him he would be released within a short time, and indeed within minutes his blue (!) ID was returned and he was released, not before a lengthy reprimand telling him that although there is no sign, there are plastic strips with the Israeli Police logo tied between the posts, sufficient indication that parking is forbidden.  The detainee continued to explain (in Hebrew) that there is no sign, and at a certain point the soldier admitted something like: "perhaps it's an oversight and I'll address the matter to our transportation department to be remedied."

After the detainee departed, we asked the soldier how one addresses such a department and whether he had done so, but he refused to talk to us.  The detainee had told us that while he had waited, the soldier had done nothing about releasing him, but had busied himself with "eating and all sorts of other things".  The detainee did not want to submit a complaint, but we did so later with the prompt assistance of Hannah  B. In our opinion, the man's possession of a blue ID only emphasizes the gravity of the event.

08:30  Zeitim Crossing

We did not enter the checkpoint, which appeared tranquil.

08:45  Wadi Nar

We saw 5 detained transits, 4 headed north and 1 south.  In reply to our inquiry we were told they had been waiting 1-1/2 hr., except for the last one in the line headed north, which had been waiting about 45 minutes.
There were many soldiers at the checkpoint but most sat idle in the booths while the border policeman in charge, A., moved between them and regulated traffic.  We could not understand why no one was checking documents and releasing the passengers.  We waited a few minutes while nothing was done about the transits (in extremely hot weather, it should be noted), and tried to speak to the soldiers to find out whether there was a particular reason for the delay, but they would not co-operate, and so we began a round of phone calls -- to the area commander, the humanitarian centre, the DCO.   It was only after the checkpoint commander heard from them that checking of documents began, some 30 minutes after our arrival.  Slowly the northbound transits were released.  Shortly after that the southbound one as well -- but only after receiving telephone orders.

In contrast to our previous week's report when we met the reserve soldier who spoke of his sense of "service" and his aim "to calm down the youngsters", the reserve soldier this time was hostile.

After the release of one of the transits, in an attempt to understand the cause of delay, we went up to inquire whether anyone there had received a summons to the Shabak, but the soldier immediately shouted at us: "you are forbidden to speak to them" (this, after they had been released).  As far as we could tell, there were no summons.  Immediately after the release of this lot, another transit was detained, but documents were checked immediately and the vehicle released after a few minutes.  In the absence of any other visible reason, it was our impression that these unnecessary delays are due to the conduct of the soldiers and the commander at the checkpoint.