Abu Dis, Sheikh Saed, Silwan, Tue 28.9.10, Morning
Anat T., Mili M. (reporting)
Succot holiday. Closure.
7:00 Sheikh Saed
Along the road we saw many children on their way to school before 7:00 a.m.
At the CP we met a 14-year old, prevented by the soldier from crossing because his permit was not on the school's official paper (but was stamped by the Jerusalem municipality). A few minutes later we were surrounded by 6 youths, 4 fourteen years old and 2 sixteen, holding permits from school as well as ID's and birth certificates, and the soldier would not let them cross. The day before he had allowed them to cross.
Anat called the Jerusalem Envelope Operations Headquarters, and A. tried to help, she took the details and tried to find out about the status of these permits. Since this took a long time and the boys were likely to be late for school, Anat called the Jerusalem Envelope Commander, Offer, who was on holiday in the north but said he would take care of the matter. One of the boys connected us with the headmaster of his school who said the permits had been delayed because of High Holidays and will be issued on Sunday.
Finally Anat got back to A. who said that the 2 sixteen-year olds already had permits which they must pick up (we hope their school can tell them where to do this), and that the fourteen-year olds, according to her, do not require such permits.
We went up to the checkpoint where a border-policeman had turned up (probably sent there by Offer). He explained that on the permit of one of the boys it said he had completed 12th grade, and could not be allowed to cross, but an exception would be made for this one time. After checking the documents of all the rest, he let them cross. By then it was 8:30! One of the boys had given up and gone home, losing a day of school because of the arbitrary obstinacy of the soldier on duty, or because of obscure regulations, or because of our holidays.
Large rocks were scattered along the road, probably used during the recent riots.
Towards Ein-Hilweh there was a traffic jam. An army vehicle with police personnel had stopped the flow of traffic to make way for a procession of settlers, evidently bringing a Torah scroll. One of the policemen asked if we had a car, and told us we could cross. Simple and quite open: crossing for Jews is permitted because there is no concern they might disturb the procession. "Jews too have rights" said the policeman, to which we replied: "Jews have more rights." "This is a Jewish state" was his triumphant reply (which is precisely why the Palestinians are unwilling to recognize Israel as a Jewish state!). Although it's possible to leave the village by another route, the residents of the street were not allowed to return to their homes by car. But a carful of unmistakably Jewish passengers can pass without being stopped.
Anat called the police when one of the policemen asked to see an order permitting residents to pass after checking their addresses on ID's. She was told that such an order had been given and that a policeman would be sent to take care of it.
A Palestinian woman refused to move her car and insisted on her right to reach her home. But she gave in when the policeman was about to fine her for obstructing traffic. We had to leave as tempers flared and one of the Palestinians shouted: "This is recism."
On the way back we called Hagit Afran, and the police spokesperson, as well as the office of the Jerusalem police commander, Franko, to express our protest about the shameful management, and to warn that an explosive situation was building up.