Abu Dis, Sheikh Saed, Thu 29.4.10, Morning
Yehudith S., Shosh H., Michaela R. (reporting)
* long lines and prolonged waiting in Sheikh Saed. A difficult morning, especially for children.
* a surprise checkpoint in front of Silwan
6:45 Sheikh Saed
A line of some 30-40 persons winding as far as the edge of the corridor above.
Checks are very slow. A wait of 20-30 minutes for inhabitants of a small village only a franction of whose residents have the "right" to cross.
Meticulous checks are conducted also for small children who are required to present documents (permits from school?), and have their school-bags checked. An 8-year-old was not allowed to cross because he did not possess the correct document -- until, with the help of his uncle, and a reprimand that this was the last time, he was let through.
Sh. entered to speak to the person checking. He said: "I check according to orders. We don't mess around. This is how we have to work." But it seems he let people through more quickly thereafter.
We called "humanitarian" headquarters to complain. After a few minutes we heard the phone in the booth ringing and heard the answer: "I can't work faster, I'm on my own."
At the same time, a soldier materialised out of the checkpoint area and started to help with the checking. The harrassment of the children stopped, and most crossed quickly without checks. The line grew shorter even though after 7:00 the stream of children grew.
An old woman leaning on a cane arrived from the direction of Jabel Mukaber. She has difficulty negotiating the slope with fences and turnstiles. To the suggestion that an easier crossing be opened for her she replies proudly: "No need."
Y. talks to the border policeman, trying to find out why the crossing is made more arduous. He replies that a few days ago a woman with $100,000 was caught. Serious ammunition!!! And the children? They carry more cheeses than permitted...
A BP jeep at the end of the American route, before the turn into Wadi Kadum, coming from Silwan. The border-policemen check driving licenses -- they say they're "acting as police."
7:50 The Pishpash
A BP jeep arrives at 8:10 to open the gate. Some children are already waiting.
A comparison of photos suggests that the concrete surrounding the gate has been lowered. The entrance has been aligned with the street level, now covered with massive concrete. One meter in front of and one behind the gate is still covered with scattered remains of rocks. But the situation has certainly improved. Reminds us of the fable of the goat removed at the rabbi's injunction ...