Morning

Dec-1-2003
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Watchers: T.S., J.O. and Mira (guest).Upon our arrival at 06:30, a woman came up to us and asked for phone numbers and our card. She was was terribly upset and told us that the day before she had been prevented from entering Bethlehem where her grandmother had died because she did not have the approprate permit. She had wanted then to phone for help. She had come to Abu Dis this morning to look for work, since her husband did not work and she had school- age children and no money.At the gas station, there were only three BP soldiers and a couple of detaineesinfo-icon who were subsequently released. Pedestrians were more or less randomly stopped and checked. There was the usual sight of people of all ages, including small school children, clambering over the wall. The section of the wall near the gas station is quite dangerous because the ground has been dug up which makes the drop to this side quite high. Up near the hotel, the deep hole we had seen being dug a week ago,in the middle of the dirt road, had been completely filled and levelled. At the pish-pash, there were no border policemen and people were passing freely.On the way back,at the gas station, we met a woman in a wheelchair, accompanied by three other people. She had been wheeled from the other side of the wall near the hotel all the way down the hill, in order to get to the hospital for her medical checkup. The soldiers wanted to let only the woman pass, because the people with her did not have permits - in addition, no taxi would take them. Eventually, the driver of a private car offered them a lift and the soldiers agreed to let them all pass.Wadi Naar checkpoint: This CP has become much more 'institutionalized' in the last few weeks - taxis were lined up on both sides, though they were let through after fairly superficial checks. There were a couple of detainees, people who had been randomly removed from taxis in order that their papers to be checked. They were released after about half an hour. Pedestians were checked quite carefully. Eiman, the new CP commander, introduced himself and was quite amiable and was eager to talk. There were also several blue-uniformed police who were supposedly concerned with criminal and not political issues - one policeman, with whom we spoke said he was checking the car insurance and registration papers of Palestinian cars! Certainly a top priority issue at a time when there are so few other problems troubling the Palestinians and the Israeli police force!! (and this is all in Area B).We met an Italian photographer and an Israeli film editor living in Rome who are making a documentary on the checkpoints. They were very interested in what we do and may come to interview us next week at Abu Dis.