Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Fri 26.8.11, Morning
Last Friday of Ramadan. We drive to Olive Terminal, park outside and enter. There are two checking posts. One at the bottom of the passage, right on the street is a shaded spot, almost a tent. Two entrances are provided, one for men and one for women. Long lines formed in front of both. Border police soldiers together with a representative of the civil administration check the many incomers under harsh conditions; the heavy heat and the crowdedness. The checking is done efficiently and politely, Men & Women are allowed according to their age. With children it's more lenient.
The shade does not cover the entrances of the people who stand in the sweltering heat. Also when papers have to be examined carefully it is done under the blazing sun.
Carriages with handicapped people are being pushed by first aid personnel who stand on both sides of the passage.
There is also an entrance on the upper side of the passage manned only by border police soldiers.
Inside the passage under the open-sided shelter is another checking point manned by the police. When a problem occurs with a person, he or she is sent to the main (bottom) entrance or not allowed to enter at all. Everybody has to lay his possessions on the checking belt. People are also requested to take off their belts before entering.
At noon time the flow of people is becoming thinner and one of the gates is closed.. Those who were not allowed to enter still linger around in hope to be let in at last.
Outside Shuttle buses are waiting for the people to bring them into town. Since this is the last Ramadan Friday the return from prayers might be late, the passage will stay open all night. As one of the officers said: "The keeper of Israel shall not sleep".