The parking lot intended for the transportation of children is full of buses and children scampering between them.
At the checkpoint, lively traffic of children and occasional adults. The children cross in their appointed lane, mostly without checks. They move on in a crowd towards their various points of transportation, between large numbers of vehicles, with no guidance, and in the absence of minimal security.
The line of vehicles is very long -- hundreds of them -- and waiting time is at least 20 minutes.
We went towards the Shuafat refugee camp. The street is full of thousands of children walking towards the checkpoint, winding their way between vehicles stuck in the line, around potholes and mounds of garbage, and no sidewalks.
We met people who reported that last night too there had been a raid of security forces, with arrests. We met a couple whose 14-year-old son had been arrested and they had been ordered to reach the Russian Compound within 10 minutes (and what can be done when the wait at the checkpoint takes 20 minutes, and roads are traffic-jammed?). An hour later we called the father who was being interrogated and could not say much. We shall pursue the matter.
When he saw us, one of the soldiers declared that B'tzelem was his favourite organisation -- to a chorus of mocking giggles from his mates.
8:00 Zeitim Crossing
At this hour only a few cross, within minutes.
A variety of reprimands and orders addressed to Palestinians can be heard from the pillbox; they are mostly ignored. When we are observed standing close to the locked gate, we too are greeted with reprimands from the loudspeaker. We ignore them.