'Anata, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Tue 22.11.11, Morning

Anat Tueg, Nava Jenny Elyashar (reporting)




7:00 Anata
We started with Anata in order to check whether the new checkpoint has been opened.  It hasn't -- only at the beginning of December, they say.
At the vehicle checkpoint there is pressure.  Two checking tracks are open and the line of cars stretches beyond our line of vision and into the village.  Checking itself is quick.
It's still early, but nevertheless most of those crossing are high school children.  We crossed through the pedestrian crossing.  Towards the end of the path where documents and permits are displayed the line splits.  The younger children cross through an open door to a parallel track and exit without interference.  After checking of documents a turnstile has to be crossed, and pressure is created.  It turns out that the side door has been locked.  As soon as the soldiers unlock it the pressure disperses.  Any small change is likely to entirely change the situation, from good to bad or vice-versa.
The chairman of the village committe tells us that the new checkpoint will open at the beginning of December.   He complains about the general situation in the village. The camp has become a storehouse for weapons and drugs.  The police rarely come into the village, Egged buses don't enter, neither does the municipality... those residents who can afford it, rent an apartment elsewhere and escape.  The poor remain, prey to crime and neglect.
On the outskirts, on a cliff beyond the wall, we notice a sort of hut, isolated.  We were told that activities for Jewish children take place there, and that the intention is to build a new settlement called "Gate to the East", as part of the political plan to surround Jerusalem with a chain of Jewish construction.
8:00 Wadi Nar
The checkpoint is almost empty; the workers crossed earlier, now it's the children's hour.
The winding road leading to the checkpoint is one-way, only going up.  This doesn't prevent many Palestinians from using it to go down, against oncoming traffic. The road is poor, narrow, and on a slope above an abyss, with no shoulders, sidewalk or protective fence.  Anat drives anxiously, honking before each sharp turn (of which there are many) .
The checkpoint itself is empty and quiet.  Only the four furiously barking dogs notice our arrival.  Traffic is sparse, and the soldiers don't stop vehicles.
8:45 Olive Terminal
We arrived from Al-Ezaria to the back of the checkpoint.  No line was visible from the outside.  The checkpoint is almost empty.  Inside, a surprise awaited us.  A short line of 15, at the only checking point open, managed to create an irritating congestion.  Each person was stuck for ten minutes while the check was completed.  All this without any undue circumstances requiring more pedantic checks. No one lacked documents, and no special checks took place except for two women who were required to take off their shoes.  The turnstile operated all the time, and yet:  just a very loooong check.
Anat buzzed the second gate and asked for it to be opened, and lo and behold: the gate opened, and the people who moved to join this line crossed quickly.  I, who remained in my place in the previous line, exited long after Anat who crossed in the new line.