'Anata, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Thu 15.12.11, Morning
Rachel M., Michaela R., (reporting)
Even before reaching the recesses of the checkpoint we could see the haste with which the main road was blocked with a wall and fence around the field above the old checkpoint, with curls of barbed wire.
At the new checkpoint we were met by an officer who was interested to know what the Palestinians thought of it. This conversation signals the present approach which is to try and avoid the anger of the residents. And indeed, the checkpoint is, at present, spacious and clean, the checks efficient and swift. But the place has not yet acquired its full appearance, some turnstiles have not yet been installed, and
some of the instruments are not yet operative. Time will tell how things will develop.
We entered the pedestrian track into Anata. The pedestrians walk on a sidewalk in a fenced corridor at the end of which is a turnstile -- only one, which does not allow for the crossing of the handicapped and children's strollers. There is no so-called "humanitarian gate" and no bell to call for help.
On the right is a lot intended for children's transportation. Ushers and a representative of the neighbourhood council work indefatigably directing the traffic. Clean and tidy, a definite improvement on the previous arrangement. Children are not checked, and their buses cross the checkpoint without delays.
We walked towards the main street which is blocked, as we mentioned, by a wall. The stench and filth everywhere are beyond belief -- a true garbage dump. There seem to be no working garbage removal services.
There are three operating tracks for vehicles, and the possibility of a fourth. Passengers display their documents from inside the cars, and we did not see any checks of trunks. Crossing is swift, and long lines don't form.
Pedestrians wishing to leave Anata must cross in a corridor which starts with a turnstile. Here too there is no possibility for a wheelchair or child's buggy to cross. Inside there's a gate for the handicapped, but it is difficult to reach.
For the present, there are no booths, soldiers stand on the tracks and check documents. Crossing is swift and flowing.
7:30 Olive Terminal
The lines are short, only two checking points are active. Two little ones who tried to cross in the third checking point which was closed were turned back to the other lines.