Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sawahira ash Sharkiya, Sheikh Saed
6:20 Sheikh Saed
A routine day. Evidence of wall construction can be observed in the area.
Sawahirah ash-Sharkiya checkpoint
We entered the inspection point -- not a soul in sight.
The door to the east is locked, but open to the west (i.e. easy entry to Jerusalem).
On the way back we noticed a shadowy figure (soldier? guard?) in the checking booth -- not clear what he was up to. He got on with his business without bothering those crossing.
The crossing of vehicles was slightly more lively. One driver managed to pass the first two metal barriers, was checked by a soldier, crossed the third, but the fourth failed to open. The soldier didn't notice until another car came up, the barrier went up and both cars crossed.
Many security people milling around outside, mostly around the pedestrian exit.
We enter and exit into the parking area to the east.
A driver is washing the floor mats of his car under the faucets of the canopy in the waiting area -- a kind of poetic justice. The residents of East Jerusalem, especially the neighbourhoods outside the wall, suffer from repeated water deprivation and frequent breakdowns.
Two physically fit young men jump over the barbed wire between the edge of the wall and metal barrier. Elegantly, they stride to the bus and disappear. Words cannot express the idiocy of this wall, but Israel is persuaded it provides security and prevents attacks.
Inside, only one station is working -- slowly. Of course a line forms. At some point another station opens, but the first continues to be very slow.
A woman with a handicapped child in a wheelchair arrives. We didn't see how she crossed the first turnstile, but now she presses the buzzer to open the side gate to allow the passage of the wheelchair. The gate remains locked, she presses again, calls out, but the gate remains locked. After a long time someone turns up to open. Someone was there to open the first gate -- so why on earth is it not possible to ascertain a smooth passage through all the turnstiles?
Finally we reach the window, and this spectacle meets our gaze: A sleepy female soldier casts a long, slow glance at the displayed documents; she operates the entire system by herself. Next to her, a soldier is sprawled on a chair, fast asleep.