Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Silwan, Wed 26.1.11, Morning
Dafna Shafir, Anat Toeg (reporting)
6:45 Sheikh Saed
A small number of persons crossing, mostly children and pupils who are checked humanely. We meet D. who called us a few days ago to find out how to speed up the crossing of a twelve-and-a-half year old child who had injured his leg in the evening and had to reach Kalandia (!) with his father in order to acquire a permit to go to Mokassad for treatment. At the Sheikh Saed checkpoint they refused to let him cross with his father who has a work permit in Israel, and unfortunately the DCO at the Zeitim crossing was closed (on Tu Bishvat -- although later the DCO claimed this was not due to the holiday). Yael S. suggested trying to co-ordinae by phone with the medical centre of the Administration.
7:30 Jabel Mukhaber settlement, the slopes of Armon Hanatziv
We drove to find out the effect on the residents of the appropriation of the house in the heart of the Palestinian neighbourhood. The Israeli flag hoisted atop the building is guarded by a few men who were not visible (the neighbours pointed out their cars). The windows are blocked against voyeurs and stone-throwers. A neighbour told us that the feeling is unpleasant but so far the house has not been occupied.
A great deal of bustle around the City of David -- commanders from the border-police, some 15 soldiers and 4 vehicles. Some of the soldiers are sitting in the shelter inside the City of David area. We try to find out if there is any connection between the impending opening of the tunnel leading from the City of David to the archaeological museum near the Wailing Wall, but we are ignored. On second thought, and after consulting with Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, it appears that there was no such connection -- the bustle had to do with the inauguration of the tunnel, point being to create a stir and some publicity.
9:00 Zeitim Terminal, A-Tur
Dafna waits outside the checkpoint, tired of the endless beeping of the magnometer calibrated to identify every ring and bracelet, requiring one to remove every piece of jewelry...
The crossing point contains some 15 persons, with one passage open initially, but immediately followed by the opening of another.
A woman of about 70, loaded with a number of heavy bags, is waiting her turn. She is frightened. She has a blue ID but has never crossed. She enters, the magnometer beeps, she has repeat this again and again, trying to explain in Arabic "Hadid pi dahari". The female soldiers don't understand. I and another fellow who stands behind her shout to the soldier that she has a metal plate in her back, and after long minutes they allow me to enter. I explain, and they take her, thoroughly scared, to the checking room. After the check, she dresses and forgets her bags... I have an aftertaste of the recent anti-left provocations. The soldier takes the woman's ID, checks something on the computer, and lets the woman wait some 10 minutes with no explanation. While I wait the c.p. commander and his deputies arrive and pass the time with a tedious harangue addressed to the "terrorist accomplices" and their interference with the routine check the woman must undergo like everyone else (as though we had objected to that).
Without doubt, something in the atmosphere has changed, we are targeted and redefined. As for the elderly woman, Dafna picked up her bags from the fellow behind her, and held them for her. The woman repeated the crossing, and when she emerged she hugged and kissed Dafna.