Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Silwan, Sun 30.10.11, Morning
Anat Toeg, Nava Jenny Eliashar (reporting)
6:20 Olive Terminal
The checkpoint is overcrowded, we could barely find a parking spot in the gigantic parking lot. Some 100 persons are waiting outside the only open turnstile. Inside, 3 checkng points are open, some 150 waiting in the lines.
The men stand in front of the northern turnstile, the women in front of the southern, but there is no real separation between the lines. The women's southern turnstile opened just once, but that did not create a problem because when the green light came on in the men's line they made way for the women and children.
6:50 Olive Terminal
The outside line is almost empty. At 6:40 we entered in the direction of the checkiing point.
In the last 30 minutes 200 people went in.
The lines diminish quickly. The shrill voice of the female soldier in position three is heard non-stop: "... stop beeping... take everything out of your pockets... move back, I'm checking him... imshi, cross..."
20 are waiting in line 3 ahead of us. The turnstile is constantly open, and entrance is regulated by the people depending on the checking pressures. By and large, things move fast.
7:00 Olive Terminal
We passed the checking, a total of 20 minutes for all the phases. On the outside the commander of the checkpoint awaits us -- a short conversation, and we leave, with no more lines behind us.
The commander reports an incident which took place before our arrival. Persons from Hebron pushed into the turnstiles, and some got crushed. The security personnel had to risk pushing into the resulting tumult to rescue those trapped. Some of those pushing were detained, not arrested, and will shortly be released.
"The King's Garden" in City of David. The future garden apparently to be built on the ruins of Palestinian homes, is still being dug, still without plants or landscaping. But someone has decided to mark the spot where King David picked roses on his morning stroll, to the sound of birdsong and the caress of breezes. It is for this that a number of Palestinians from the Bustan neighbourhood have been ordered to evaporate from their homes.
Further on we saw excavations for thick concrete pipes to be laid in the ground. Perhaps the sewage problem of the surrounding area will be solved.
7:45 Sheikh Saed
The children have long since crossed on their way to school. No one to talk to.
In the space above the checkpoint ten young men are waiting. They don't have permits to cross into Israel, and it doesn't look as though they'll get them in the future. They're trapped in their community of some 3,000 souls until the eastern road to Bethlehem will be paved, or until the occupation ends, whichever comes first. It's heart-rending to see these youths without any professional, social or financial horizons. In the meantime, they stand next to their dilapidated vehicles, waiting for a passerby to pay for a ride inside the neighbourhood.