Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Tue 11.12.07, Afternoon
We got to the Zeitun crossing at about 14:15. There were few people heading in either direction and all that we saw go in, from both directions, emerged quickly enough so we assume that all was going well. The inside is now totally blocked from view.
We continued on to Abu Dis, passing by a flying checkpoint. Abu Dis is a total ghost town. We went up to the Cliff Hotel and looked out at the Moskowitz settlement. Nothing seems to have changed there. We saw no people around, the blinds on the house were down and the place looked unoccupied. There was a collection of junk outside the house, but no sign of activity.
There are all kinds of changes at Sheikh Said. The soldier's inspection booth was moved to the opposite side of the road. The boulders that used to block the entry to Sheikh Said have been removed and, theoretically, it would be possible to drive into Sheikh Said (for the first time in years) if one is able to get through the two gates that have been erected there.
There were 6 personnel there -- four private security guards and 2 border police. Quite an outlay considering that during the whole time we were there, not one person passed through in either direction!
We went to Wadi Naar via the road near the Zeitun crossing and Al Ezariah. There was no checkpoint at the entry. There was an enormous amount of traffic at Wadi Naar. Literally hundreds of vehicles headed toward Bethlehem and about a third of that number heading the other direction.
At the same time, hundreds of workers returning home descended upon the checkpoint. One border policeman (who was singularly thoughtful toward some old people who were crossing over) was checking i.d.'s of workers, waving cars through from both directions, checking passengers on a bus and generally maintaining the checkpoint.
After a few minutes, two more border police came out and helped with directing traffic and apparently one other was checking i.d.'s inside. With all this going on, there were at most four border police.
At Sheikh Said, where crossing has been kept to an absolute minimum, there were 6 personnel. Is something wrong with this picture?