Abu-Dis

May-23-2003
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At the wall:

A BP jeep near the gas station. We notice two BP with wooden clubs
that stand upright against their backs. Two soldiers staff the
lookout on top of the gas station. A few young men are jumping over
the wall – where the barbed wire has been pushed aside and at the
very top, near the hotel, two elderly couples manage to climb over
the stones and concrete blocks and get into a transit to Jerusalem
– when the jeep had already left.

At the new gate:

the BP soldiers are standing at a distance from the gate, at some
low concrete blocks - let people pass freely, only occasionally
they call someone over to check their papers – usually young
men.

Sawahre:

A total closureinfo-icon – long line of cars and trucks on both sides –
waiting. One man says he has been waiting since last night, to
return to Bethlehem. we are ‘greeted’ by the commander Itzhak Zur –
whom we remember from previous times, when he was particularly
cruel and did not let ambulances with emergency cases through – and
we remind him of that. And lo and behold, an ambulance appears.
After checking the papers and the vehicle, it is indeed let through
– so perhaps it was good we reminded him?

We call Haviv Edri, the company commander – who says there is
indeed a closure and only humanitarian cases are let through. We
tell him about a neurosurgeon who needs to go and see her patients
in Bethlehem and has been waiting for over an hour with her sister
– they themselves have been calling Dalia Bassa, the from the
"humanitarian center" of the DCO. After some talk between
this Dalia and Edri, the two women are allowed to pass. We could
not do anything for others.

A few soldiers on foot seem to be patrolling the road further down,
stopping people from using the paths up the hill that avoid the
roadblock.

After the cars have been waiting for hours, some seven garbage
trucks coming from Bethlehem are let through – people remark
cynically that garbage is more important than human beings. The
trucks carrying eggs, fruit and vegetables coming from Abu Dis were
still standing when we left.

Back at the new gate:

it is now closed – and soldiers, now standing right behind the
wall, are writing down the numbers of people with blue ID’s, one by
one – this goes very slowly and some twenty people are gathered
behind it waiting. The elderly women, who came with us in the
transit and were not let through at the Sawahre roadblock to return
to their home in Hebron, are not let through here either.

On the other side we speak to a transit driver from Abu Dis and
Qalandya, who seems very articulate about the confiscation of
transits.