Sawahira ash Sharkiya, Sheikh Saed
The A-Sharkiya checkpoint is off the beaten track; it deserves more frequent visits.
6:20 Sheikh Saed
A young man waited impatiently at the checking booth for a long time. He must have been there for at least 15 minutes when we arrived. Meanwhile, many crossed routinely, including children.
Sawahira ash - Sharkiya
To all appearances, things were fine -- children waiting for transportation, gorgeous spring blossoms, bird-song.
When we approached the checkpoint, we were impressed by the quiet. But then the gate opened, and a large stream of people, children and adults, exited the room.
This gate is very heavy, a child cannot open it, a woman would find it difficult. For some reason, the gate facing Jerusalem is locked some of the time, and always locked facing east. There is a buzzer, but no one seems to pay it any notice.
Inside, those wishing to cross are uncomfortably crowded. An impatient female soldier sits at the booth, checking documents. From time to time she receives loud instructions on how to work. Another soldier stands by the gate, making sure only those who pass the magnometer are allowed to cross. A young woman tries to get her infant through on the side to avoid the radiation, but it's not easy. Most of the children are not required to show documents, but they cannot cross while the documents of adults are being check. The crowding is vast, and much time is wasted. It feels like jail -- above all the insult and humiliation. Why should this be?
The person responsible for checking vehicles sat on the ground with his back to the cars which had to wait until he deigned to get up.
Our presence was not welcome at "his" checkpoint, as the commander, A., informed us.