Abu-Dis

Jun-19-2003
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Abu Dis: People jumping the wall,
trying to avoid the barbed wire. Under a tree at the university sat
three soldiers without interfering. We crossed to the other side,
explaining ourselves to 2 women, and were rewarded with cold water
and offers of coffee.

Wadi Nar: We were told that it had been closed for two days. There
also is a soldier there (beard and a skull cap) who is violently
aggressive to all, old and young, man and woman. When we arrived
there, there were men, women, children, taxis, lorries loaded with
produce, an ambulance and also a long line of cars from the other
side. As soon as people saw us they rushed towards us as if we were
their last hope, each with his own story. Some said that they had
been there since the morning. There was such desperation in the
air. The border policemen in charge (not the violent soldier
mentioned above, but also refuted to be very aggressive) identified
himself with no problem, but said he had been instructed by the
Etzion commander not to speak to us or answer us, and that we were
to move off 50 meters. Apparently by next week he will no longer be
there. People were begging us to do something. We tried all sorts
of phone numbers, and finally a jeep arrived with a high ranking
officer. At first he refused to talk to us, saying that we only
come to the checkpoints to make trouble for the soldiers and to
make an impression. But gradually he softened, and spoke to us. He
said that a few days ago one of his soldiers had let someone
through against orders, and had been caught, tried, and punished.
So he was going to stick to his orders. We asked about the people
waiting, but he said he could not help them. One man had been there
with his flock for three days and they had orders not to let him
through (though the officer personally would have). A doctor and
his wife who were there had taken their daughter to hospital in
Ramallah, and though the border policemen were prepared to let him
return home to Hebron, they would not let his wife, as they
maintained that she had passed illegally and her midwife documents
were out of date. We put her in touch with the Moked, and the
conversation ended in tears. How could they have left their
daughter alone in hospital??? He did not believe them!!! Maybe he
should try being a Palestinian. We kept pleading for some people.
We don't know why or at what point the officer softened, but
suddenly he gave orders, and everyone started going through. Within
5 minutes the checkpoint was empty, and there was no checking on
the way, but doctor's wife was left standing and sobbing. The
soldiers had taken her ID. Next thing we knew, she had her ID back,
and was on her way to join her husband on the other side. As we
left, we heard shouting from the other side of the checkpoint, and
saw our doctor and other people jumping up and down and waving
their arms at us, shouting "Shukran shukran".