Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Wed 14.8.13, Morning

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Hannah Bara"g (reporting)



One rotten apple...
Olive Terminal
I arrived at 5:30 a.m.  Quite a large number of vehicles came up the hill, and workmen disembarked, some known to me from Bethlehem.  Since the lines at Olive Terminal are shorter and faster than those at Qalandia or Bethlehem, some prefer to pay more for transportation and cross here.  Passage was reasonably fast and smooth. 
Towards 7:30 men and women, seemingly white-collar workers who do not have to report to work at earlier hours, started crossing.  The checkpoint at these hours is virtually empty.  A young man was turned back.  I tried to inquire why but he refused to talk.
At 7:40 the children of Jahalin arrived, on their way to the beach, with a few women, some of them their mothers.  A few girls were dressed in their best garments, bedecked and combed carefully.  The little boys are cheerfully boistrous.  Permits were distributed to all and we began to cross.  Some of the children were scared by the carousel and needed patience and a smile to persuade them to take this ominous step.  We reached the window of the checking booth.  We helped the children to put their belongings in the checking machine and persuaded them to pass under the metal detector.  And now the spoil-sport soldier turned up to dampen spirits.  First he made me go through the detector several times, because each time I helped a child through I had omitted to put down my bag, which of course caused beeping each time.  Sensible explanations or co-operation failed.  He raised his voice, and mainly worked "by the book."  After I found a solution to my bag, I tried to help a little  doe-eyed girl of 5-6, with a long pigtail, to cross.  But as luck would have it, each time the child crossed, the machine beeped wildly.  I tried talking sense to the "rotten apple" in charge, with no success.  The machine insisted on beeping... We began to "dismantle" the sweet child.  We removed her belt... and the beeping continued, then her hair pins... more beeping, and the soldier insisting that he "works as is necessary.  Finally I performed a more thorough search myself, and lo and behold, the cause was a toy cell-phone.  No ticking mega-bomb, and all's well that ends well.  Little by little, all the children crossed and ran gayly towards the exit and the buses.  The little one with the toy cell-phone wept a little, but was comforted by a hug from me and one of the women, and she too got on the bus.
At 8:50 the bus took off with hands waving fond farewells to me.