'Anata-Shu'afat, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Thu 21.6.12, Morning
Rahel M., Michaela R. (reporting)
6:10 Sheikh Saed
All arrivals cross quickly. No children in sight.
Even before we had reached the checkpoint, people turned to us, asking us to come and see how they were treated. A restless murmur arose from the checkpoint area. When we reached the eastern side we found the outer turnstile locked and a crowd pressing around it. We began phoning but then the turnstile opened and everyone entered in one rush. We couldn't see whether the soldier at the turnstile had fallen asleep or had simply decided to abuse the people. Thereafter, and throughout our stay, the turnstile remained open. Was it our presence, armed with telephones, that released the lock?
People complain that the toilets are foul and the waiting canopy filthy.
Two checking stations were open for the mass of people. The wait in each corridor was rather long (10-15 minutes), an additional irritation for the people who had already waited outside the locked turnstile.
Some pupils are already on summer vacation, and transportation today proceeds in a relaxed fashion. S., of the local council, tells us that a plot of land has been donated for the purpose of building a public park for the benefit of the children. The council are not willing to let the municipality register the plot as its possession lest the purpose of the donation be changed -- as happened in the past with a space intended for a school but then built up with homes for collaborators. It's therefore likely that the municipality will not provide a budget for developoing the park, and its construction will be delayed.
In the pedestrian crossing: 3 women (one purblind) argue with the military policeman. We were unable to see the outcome.
Inside, the soldiers sit in their booths and check documents. When I reached the turnstile after my check, it locked. Recreation for bored soldiers. After a while the turnstile unlocked.
As always, we wound up our shift with observation of vehicular traffic at the checkpoint. Not before an argument with military-police officer, because (he said) we are not permitted to stand there "in my checkpoint." Our set speech about the right to stand in a public space worked, and the man wandered off in the direction of the traffic and disappeared. It is imperative to resist such orders to move away, and if necessary, use the telephone.