'Anata-Shu'afat, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Tue 12.6.12, Morning

Anat Toeg, Nava Jenny Eliashar (reporting)


7:00 Anata
Quiet morning, pleasant, bus traffic less heavy than usual due to exam period at the high schools.  Our free time is filled with fascinating stories from the local chairman about events in his neighbourhood.
8:00 Olive Terminal
In the parking lot, a border-police jeep with two policemen whose job is to watch the breach cut into the fence, a breach through which Palestinians without permits might steal into Jerusalem.
Those emerging from inspection complain about the time spent stuck in checkpoints.  Most began their day at the Bethlehem checkpoint, or Kalandia, or the exit from Sawaharra.  Because of the crowds and long lines there, they decided to invest in a taxi to Olive Terminal which is usually less crowded.
But on arrival they saw they had brought the pressure from which they had tried to escape, and once again they had to stand in line for a long time.
We crossed to the Palestinian side.  Anat checked the toilets. Better, but not yet up to scratch.
15-20 young men surround us, all reporting the same story:
They all had a valid permit.  One day they were told it was no longer valid.  They have many hungry children at home, waiting for someone to bring food.  They await an opportunity for work if they can reach a spot where a day labourer can find employment...
They all know Silvia.  One of them, a newcomer, is coached by Anat on how, where and who to get in touch with.
The stories are heart-rending -- and our efforts futile.
8:45 Olive Terminal
The DCO is not yet open -- the soldier ,Anat finally reaches on the phone, apologizes for problems with computer or communications, they promise to open immediately, but only to renew magnetic cards, something that seems not to require communication.