Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal)
Roughly 25% of the men and 10% of the women were not allowed to cross. We learned what we have always known:
a) if female, better older b) patience pays off.
Compared to Fridays of previous years, considerably fewer are trying to cross. The atmosphere exuding from the security personnel is a little less antagonistic, but still the experience of crossing the checkpoint on the way to prayer is stressful and humiliating.
We counted 23 men out of 100 turned back; 9 women out of 100.(see picture)
Two groups form, one of women, mostly very young; and one of men of all ages.
A senior officer arrives and takes over. Permission is granted for all the women to cross, which they do joyfully. This is repeated a few times. So why prevent them to begin with? Is this a version of collective punishment?
The men, on the other hand, were herded away down the road, and were unable to reach their mosque. What has not been said already about our Prime Minister's proud talk of freedom of worship when he meets with the world's rich and powerful?
A handicapped man who arrived later was conspicuous: his body distorted, a person whose life is not easy. What kind of threat can he represent?