'Anata-Shuafat, Abu Dis, Sheikh Saed, Thu 29.12.11, Morning
Rachel M., Michaela R., (reporting)
In general: Winter break, mainly for pupils
6:25 Sheikh Saed
Only adults crossing, and passage is very slow. Waiting time is 5-6 minutes, with 10-12 persons in the line. The person in the booth appears to be chatting most of the time.
An interesting conversation with A., the DCO representative. Head of the Olive DCO now is T., who confirms that young children now also require a permit. He doesn't think there's a problem with preventing children without special permits from crossing for the Christian holidays because "these are the regulations."
Crossing of vehicles is slower than in the past. Only two checking positions are active. Documents are checked, and occasionally trunks. Public buses are checked. The line stretches to the inner roundabout. At its centre is a booth with broken windows -- evidence, it seems, of last week's demonstration. At the entrance to the checkpoint there is a new booth draped in thickets of metal. The lot for children's transportation is empty.
At the pedestrian crossing the soldiers sit around (don't stand) next to the turnstiles. Crossing is quick due to the scarcity of people.
Entry and exit for handicapped in wheelchairs is still impossible. However, after passing the first turnstile in the direction of the exit, there is a "humanitarian gate" which is not accessible.
In the area of the old checkpoint the wall grows higher, work proceding vigorously.