'Anata-Shu'afat, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Tue 24.7.12, Morning
Anat Toeg, Nava Jenny Eliashar (reporting)
7:15 Sheikh Saed
A hot Ramadan morning, sparse traffic of men, two taxi drivers only, waiting for customers.
Those with regular Jerusalem employers left long ago, those without don't bother today in the heat and the fast.
On the first Friday of Ramadan 25-35 year olds needed a permit to cross, the rest could cross freely.
An elderly man tries to cross through the checkpoint and is turned back. His ID says he's a resident of Jabel Mukhaber although in fact he resides in Sheikh Saed. He has a permit to cross at the Oliver Terminal (a 30-40 minute drive along a very poor road) and from there back to the other side of the Sheikh Saed checkpoint (another 40-50 minute drive). All this instead of crossing here (5 minutes).
Opposite the temporary parking lot, in the area beyond the wall and the checkpoint, on the Israeli side, we notice two tractors levelling a very large section. Will this be the new transit area for pupils and buses, we asked, but did not receive a reliable answer. On the edge next to the wall a small building has been erected with an opening in front and a matching one in the wall.
The checkpoint commander believes that this will be the humanitarian crossing. Nowadays he opens a side gate when a handicapped person arrives. In the past, the chairperson of the camp council told us that a new parking lot for pupils will be created on the Israeli side. It does indeed seem likely that pupils, the elderly and the hadicapped will cross through the new humanitarian gate directly from the village to the public transportation.
8:50 Olive Terminal
The crossing is empty, 2 taxis wait on the Palestinian side, the toilets are locked.
One of the drivers believes that on the first Friday of Ramadan over 8000 crossed quickly, but the toilets were locked.
The DCO officer believes that on that day 7000 crossed quickly, and the toilets were open.
We sat at the entrance to the DCO, and the light at the turnstile was red, but the soldier who noticed us called out politely (in Arabic): "The DCO is open." There's service for you!