'Anata-Shu'afat, Container (Wadi Nar), Mon 6.2.12, Afternoon
We first visited Anata where both vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic moved smoothly,.
We took our usual route down to Azariah and then proceeded toward Wadi Nar. About 250 meters before reaching the top of the hill, there was a backup of traffic. We noticed that the drivers in front of us had turned off their motors and some were just walking around. After waiting about 15 minutes, we were able to move about 20 meters and then were stopped once again. We waited about another 10to 15 minutes and once again could move just about 4 car lengths. At that point, Chana said that she was going to walk to the checkpoint and see what was happening. While she was gone, the same pattern repeated itself. While we were waiting, some cars just turned around (on this very narrow, curving, dangerous one-way road) and decided to go back down the hill.
Chana reached the checkpoint and saw that the soldiers were very, very slowly checking out each and every vehicle. She asked why there was this terrible delay. The response was that it was none of her business and he didn’t have to tell her anything. She told them that drivers along the way reported waiting up to an hour and he said that he didn’t care if they waited for 5 hours. She said that this was causing unnecessary antagonism at which point he pointed his rifle at her and said she better go back to where she came from or he would have her arrested. Chana said that she came from a home for the elderly and he could go ahead and arrest her. He then retorted that he had the greatest respect for the elderly!
Chana’s approach must have helped somewhat because instead of waiting 15 minutes between moving ahead, the wait was down somewhat,. The meanwhile, I started making calls, but had difficulty getting through to a person and just kept leaving messages. I finally got through to an office and reported on the situation. The message was obviously delivered because within minutes, we were moving at a slow but reasonable pace. In all, it took us over an hour to travel a distance which should have taken 5 minutes.
When we got to the top of the road, there was absolute and total confusion. Vehicles were converging on the checkpoint from 4 directions – from the road that we were on from Azariah, from the south, from Sawahre, and most dangerous, from the one way road (that is supposed to lead in the opposite direction from the checkpoint) in the direction of Qedar. Apparently, drivers saw the blocked up road that we were on and chose to go the wrong way, up the “down” road. As a result that road was also totally blocked up as well and it was impossible for us to turn left and park our car as we usually do. Were it not for several individuals who took it upon themselves to try to sort out the impossible mess, the situation could have really gotten out of hand, At that point, the previously super cautious soldiers simply waved anyone who could extricate himself from the mess through the checkpoint without so much as a glance. One of the self appointed traffic managers managed to stop the traffic and enabled us to circle round and follow the road toward Sawahre.
We have been going to Wadi Naar for at least four years and never saw such a scene. In fact for the past few years, there was rarely anything of significance to report. However yesterday, something really went haywire. It should be noted that this incident took place between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – not even during an especially busy time of day