Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Mon 4.2.08, Afternoon

Yael I., Orit Y., Ruth O. (reporting)

The sunny weather and the wonderful visibility stood out in a sharp
contrast to the sad sights and filth we saw all through our shift.

We started at Abu Dis on the western side of the wall. At the Pishpash
stood about eight boarder police soldiers, no Palestinians crossed.
One of the BPs was an officer who remembered us from some time ago in
Sheich Saed. He was very friendly and told us that only 350 people are
allowed to pass there. He also told us that the wall might be moved so
that these people will be included in the western side of the wall and
the pishpash will be closed.

We drove to the Zeitim crossing which looked rather deserted, very few
people crossed, mainly women. We decided to go to the other side of
the crossing via the Maale Adumim road. The checkpoint at the exit
from A Zaim village seemed unmanned. We turned to go through Azaria
but then noticed the red sign that has been put up in various places
lately, that forbids Israelis to enter. What does that mean? Is this
situation here to stay?

We drove on via Kedar to the container. There were no lines on either
side. A bored soldier carried on long telephone talks planning some
party while at the same time waving his hand toward the cars to pass.
Very few cars were checked. One taxi that arrived from Bethlehem was
stopped, papers were examined but after a few moments the taxi was
sent on its way. The turnstile for the pedestrians was stuck and they
all squeezed through a very narrow path next to it. A group of workers
returned from a days work building in Maale Adumim.

We continued to Sheich Saed. In order to go from one place to the
next, only a few kilometers apart one has to drive long and twisted
ways. This, of course, is the fate of those "lucky" Palestinians who
hold passing permits. We went to Ras El Amud and from there drove
along the road that is ironically called "The American way". The road
(under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality) is full of
holes and is getting filthier and filthier. Large heaps of building
waste surrounds it on both sides and on top of them garbage of all
kinds "pave" the road. Children run almost into the car wheels. A
third world just next to the Jerusalem fine neighborhoods.

At Sheich Saed the newly built checkpoint is manned by two or three
boarder police soldiers and the same number of civilian guards. We
were not allowed to enter and one of the soldiers enquired: "Why do
you want to go there? Aren't you afraid?" To our answer he just
frowned while checking thoroughly the plastic bags containing grocery
that two little girls carried through to Jabel Mucaber.