Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Wed 2.1.08, Morning

Edna P., Anat T. (reporting)


06:45 Sheikh Saed
We have not been here for a month. The checkpoint is alredy almost established and enstranging - with carousels, and a shed at the exit, and a road. There is a line of bout 20 people uphill. It is terribly cold. It is not clear why the checkup is detained, but as we arrived the BP soldier starts to check documents, and the people, who have been waitin, according to them, for over half an hour, start going through.
There is no humanitarian line for school children, , but when chidren come, they let them go through first. At the entrance to the checkoint we are met by two Spanish journalists (Gabriel and his friend) who make a reportage on the life of a child in Sheikh Saed. They ask for our help in going through, since two days ago only the help of Machsom Watch women enabled them to return to Jabel Mukaber. They are waiting to our fried May, but she does not arrive. All in all the traffic of school children is light, and we are told that only the private schools are working, since it is vacation in the Arab schools. The commander of the checkpoint enabled the journalists to go through, but forbade them from photographing the checkpoint. We give them the phone number of the humanitarian center, in case they need to talk to those in charge.

When we decide to move, a BP Jeep arrives, with a BP Second Lieutenant  The S.L. orders a man with a blue ID, who was already checked to show him his documents again. The man mumbles towards him that he has already been checked, and that he is hurrying with the child that he has to drive. The soldiers chase him and make him return. "When I call you you shaw me your documents. Is that clear?" The man somehow disagrees with this and gets annoyed by the degrading treatment. Immediately there is a threat to detain him, and our quick interverance does not help the SL nervous mood. Finally the man is sent on his way, but here comes a surprising twist: he passes by with his car, put his head out of the window, and shouts out at the officer ÿou stay here, I am going to the police to complain about you". Wow!  The atmosphere is heating, and the BP men stop him and ask for the car documents. They find out that the man has been travelling for over a year without licence for the car. What make him loose his head?  At the end Edna calms tha Palestinian, and he goes to the officer in order to please him. He is sent on his way. Just another case of Öccupation syndrom" that might have ended much worse, but makes one desperate because of its banality.

The American road, Abu Dis and Zeitim passage
Mountains of dirt and garbage, and a thin traffic. There are almost no coming and going in the passage. Transit drivers that are waiting on the Israeli side complain that there are restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians, while our talk with the humanitarian center says there is none.

08:15 Wadi Naar
When we arrive through Keidar our sight is darkenned. About twenty transit cars and taxis are parked around the checkpoint and some of the people report that they have been there over an hour. We ask why and S., the commander of the checkpoint tells us that there are anouncement from the GSS to check students and ingeneers and other suspects.

A young engineer who is on his way to Jericho in order to meet an American organization and some Israeli friends tells us that last week he had been waiting for three hours, The commander of the checkpoint stands beside us immediately and tells us that last week the guy was driving a stolen car. A few minutes later we find out that the comander got him mixed up with another man. Big deel.

We tell the commander that it is an unbearable situation, how can he cause such a long detention in his checkpoint when there are no special alerts, and this is not even a checkpoint at the entrance to Jerusalem, it is a checkpoint inside the Palestinian area, about which one talks when dealing with the illegal restrictions of the freedom of the Palestinians inside their own territory. His answer is:" I just take one or two documents from each taxi - the others can drive on, why are they waiting? It is their own problem". He keeps talking about it in length, he has time to explain everything to us, and he gets very upset at Anat who is not convinced by his claims, and raises the possibility that there is an honourary and solidarity agreement among those who drive in the taxis, that at any given moment one of its passengers may become a detainee.

When we talk with K. from the Advanced command post of the Round Jerusalem area it gets a long talk too. He knows the checkpoint and the commander. He does not detain people in vain. Finally he is convinced to check up the subject, because there are no warning now. And, wonder of all wonders - while we have these conversations the checkoint is getting empty quickly, and we move towards the grocery store while it is almost empty.It is a pity that we could not get to the commander, who does seem like a person with whom we can talk.