Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Wed 6.2.08, Morning
Edna P., Anat T. (reporting)
07:00 Zeitim passage
From the ousider the terminal seems empty. We enter the terminal on foot in order to cross towards Ezariye (we took the badges off in order not to agrivate anyone) and we watched what happens. This was done also by the request of the red cross, whose people wanted to know how many chekcpoints there are, how many carousels and what does the passage look like.
There are three active line, the rest are closed. There are two lines for men and one line for women, children, students and people who want to go to the DCO (only later, when it was open). In each of the checkpoints for the men there are about 15 men. Average waiting time - about 15 minutes. At the carousel leading to the checkup of women, children and student it is about the same, but here is a bit more conceren from the movements of the carousel, that the small children can not anticipate. All in all everyone seems very usued to the situation, and there are no special complaints. The Palestinians go used to waiting at checkpoints much longer, and are not expecially nervous. The bus of the Rosary convent is waiting for the children and the girls, and therefor they are not stressed.
07:45 Wadi Naar (the container)
There are two vans going towards Jerusalem waiting for their documents to be checked. The cars going towards Beit Lehem and Hebron are not being stopped. The line of cars towards Jerusalem is short - six cars. Within 15 minutes the passengers get their documents back and move on. We hope that the situation will not change once we leave the place (the soldiers are definitely aware of our presence).
08:10 Shoafat refugee camp
The morning rush hour has indeed almost passed, but two school buses are still waiting for pupils in the parking lot. The head of the neighborhood comitee meets us and he is very agitated, and shows us five empty bullet cartridges. This very morning there was life shooting in the air at the checkpoint around 06:30, while there were many people going through, small children among them. "What happens?"We are shocked. Jamil answers that since the terrorist attack two weeks ago at the north checkpoint of the fenced neighborhood (very near the road to Pisgat Ze'ev) and the death of the BP man, the soldiers are very nervous, and the whole population is being colectively punished by more severe restrictions in the checkpoint - all this despite the fact that the terrorists did not come from the refugee camp, but from the west bank.
Jamil tells us that the main source of problem is the fact that the pedestrians have to go through the checkup sleeve, that is very hated by the people who see it as a cattle pen. Whoever has been in the checkpoint in the morning knows the hectic traffic there, and there is no chance of it being contained in a narrow fenced off corridor. This causes a lot of embitterness, the soldiers "do not honor" those going through, there were cases of crowding and pushing and every throwing stones at the BP soldiers, and this morning one of the soldiers felt threatened and shot in the air. This caused much turmoit, and the children got scared and ran off. Since now it all seems as usual, which means the usual morning traffic, and there are no detainees, it seems that the crucial time is really between 06:00 and 07:30.
We call the head of the BP units in the Jerusalem wraparound, commander Nissim Edri, and he is as courteous as ever. Yes, he is aware of what has happenned in Shoafat checkpoint this morning. The place is usually quiet, but there is a need, since the terrorist attach, to perform a special checkup in the mornings. He repeats three times the phraze "we don't want another soldier killed". The anxiety is understood, but maybe it is worthwhile, we suggest, to meet with the strong, practical and very experienced commitee of the inhabitants, in order to solve the problems that arose now, since it is definitely impossible to regulate all the pedestrian traffic in the narrow sleeve, it is even dangerous to do it, since the children and the frail ones might get crushed. He agrees to do it, and we tell Walid who desides to bring with him the layer Danny Zeidman from "Ir Amim" ("city of nations") organization.