Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Wed 2.1.08, Morning
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.
08:15 Wadi Naar
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.