Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Silwan, Mon 4.11.13, Morning
7:00 Sheikh Saed
Construction is advancing. A thick concrete wall has been built, and beyond it foundations for the wall. This time we had no problem going up and talking to people. They say that most residents with a blue ID have left Jabel Mukhaber. Yet people still ask hopefully if we know anything new about progress in Sheikh Saed. All that remains to be said is that the Sheikh Saed checkpoint is not being closed but upgraded to a permanent building.
Roads full of garbage, and busy morning traffic. Security guards of the local settlers and City of David have their hands full. No delays of vehicles or persons.
A border police jeep is sometimes parked next to the opening in the wall. From the threatening pillbox above, orders and warnings on the loudspeaker to vehicles at the eastern opening can be heard all the time.
We meet two in need of Silvia's help. One of them says he was arrested and convicted for illegal presence in Israel (he is caregiver for the old and ailing), and after his sentencing his ID was not returned. He was represented by a Palestinian lawyer but doesn't want to employ him further because of the cost. It looks as though he can get by on his own.
The checkpoint itself is empty, and the staff report that thousands cross early in the morning -- until 5:30.