'Anata-Shu'afat, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal)
5:30 Olive Terminal
Many workers are hurrying to the checkpoint. Three checking points are open but each is working at a different pace, and people keep moving from one to the other. Generally speaking, the lines move reasonably fast and don't extend much beyond the corridor.
6:00 Shuafat checkpoint
At enormous traffic jam greets us as soon as we enter through the turnstile. Long lines of cars bumper to bumper on the right and on the left, and the end of the line is not visible. The reason, a young man tells us, is that the checkpoint was opened only a few minutes ago. Perhaps the checkpoint was open but not all the checking points were operative -- behind us we saw an army vehicle which may have been bringing reinforcements.
The street is filthy, possibly more than usual. Piles of fresh garbage, or partly burnt, block the sidewalk and spill into the street. The stench is horrendous.
We crossed in the pedestrian crossing. The line is very long, a wait of more than 10 minutes(!), despite the fact that it's summer and no pupils or teachers are crossing. The x-ray machine is working, as is the magnometer, but only one soldier checks documents -- although there are others sitting around, and more windows are available.
At the checkpoint for vehicles, 4 checking points are now operative. Female soldiers check documents of drivers and passengers, as well as the trunks. They work slowly, the drivers stuck in the traffic honk angrily, and an aura of anger and raw nerves envelops the checkpoint.
Many vehicles are delayed today, to be checked also by dogs. The soldier in charge of the dog makes sure that only the dog's front paws, and not it's entire body, enters the vehicles. The passengers look on. Each check lasts for long minutes, in addition to waiting in the traffic jam.