Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Sun 23.12.07, Morning

Meira A., Nava E. (reporting)

Sheikh Saed

Both of us have not been to Sheikh Saed checkpoint for a few months, and were surprised by the changes. A regular checkpoint is being built in the place and it includes a building to protect the soldiers, two stick-blockers for the cars that are being blocked in the neighborhood for three years, and may get permits to come and go in the future, a carousel. A checkpoint.

There is a very polite soldier who helps an old lady and her escort, and he even opens the stick-blocker, so she can walk through the short way, and does not have to go around, in the usual way of pedestrians,
A Jeep with a high officer inside stops by, interested in our well-being, asks whether everything is fine in "his" checkpoint? Indeed, everything is fine, if one accepts the assumption that there needs to be a checkpoint there...

Abu Dis
The place is quiet, there is no traffic, A bored soldier is checking the pemits of the happy few who go the privilage of being in the list of those allowed to go through the Pishpash.

Zeitim passage 08:30

As we got our heads out of the car, and shouts for help were heard from the Palestinian side. About five man were shouting to us, from two fences, one gate, and about ten meters away, that a young student who lives near by was caught a short time ago on his way to Abu Dis and to the university, According to them the commander told them that the young man will not be released for about three hours.

The young man lives in a house on the Palestinian side of Abu Dis/Ezariye, just beneath the checkpoint. As a result every outing of him or anyone of the family is dangerous since the road leading to the house is the same road where Palestininas without permits who try to sneak in to Ma'ale Adumim road, and from there into Israel. He was therefor caught near the house because he was allegedly walking in the hills in order to enter Jerusalem without a permit,
While shouting back and forth we got the details of the incident and of the man, The soldier who watches from the observing tower started shouting at us to move away from the fences, but we were already in the middle of a phone call with the humanitarian center.

Within two minutes, while the Palestinians organizxe themselves to send somebody over to the house of the young man in order to get his ID, the inside gate was openned, and the student walked out free. Maybe he was released because the commander had changed his mind, or maybe our bothersome presence was a bit helpful in shortening the useless detention time.