Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Wed 6.2.08, Afternoon
14:00 to 16:00
Sheikh Saed 14:00
There was very few pedestrians and as the road is barricaded, there was no motor traffic. One border guard and one guard from a private security firm were at the Checkpoint. A resident who was returning from work told us that the appeal to the High Court regarding the bizarre and apparently insane decision to cage in this section of Jebel Mukaber was postponed again and is now due to be heard on 23rd February.
We left Sheik Saed and drove along the lower road under Silwan to Ras Al Amud.
Viewing the Moskowitz house in its pastoral splendour from the backyard of a home on the hillside we saw some sign of life there. There is play equipment for children in the yard and there were two men, one on the roof, probably the guard, and the other on a lower roof top. We passed the Cliff Hotel with its broken windows and the ruins of a 7 storey home which had been a 24 apartment building and had been demolished on the grounds that it was built illegally on Church property. The appeal by the Church had not made any difference.
Zeitun -A- Tur
This “international frontier” crossing was almost deserted. Standing near one of the gates, trying to see into the terminal itself was not allowed today and we were yelled “to move back!” from a loudspeaker.
Container, (Wadi Nar) 15:30
A white Seat private car was being thoroughly searched when we arrived and the line of traffic backed up with at least twenty five vehicles. The car was pulled over to the side, the driver's ID was taken but returned to him after five minutes and he was allowed to drive away.
Throughout our shift, traffic flowed relatively quickly. One driver told us that he waited about 15 minutes which he thought was reasonable.
The arbitrary nature of the searches was obvious. There was one soldier checking although there were two lanes that could have been used. Sometimes he just waved through ten or twelve cars, and then he stopped a transit van for inspection. At 16:00, there was no soldier checking at all, and vehicles drove through keeping up a steady speed.
Workers returning from working in Maale Adumim or Mishor Adumim were driven to within 100 metres of the checkpoint and after that they walked. These were all men who looked clearly over the age of 35. They arrived in groups of ten to twenty.
A woman aged about 40 approached us. She wore a cross, western style clothing with jeans and a jacket. She was distressed, speaking good English and some Hebrew, repeating her story, pleading with us to help her. She is from Bethlehem and was on her way to Jerusalem seeking help. She is a single mother of twins now aged 17, a girl and a boy. She is desperate for financial help for her children, and a job for herself. Rahel gave her a name to be in contact with, and a note introducing her. Rahel will also email someone who might be able to find money for a scholarship for her daughter.