The closure was officially lifted last
8:00 in Abu Dis, walked along the separation wall up the hill,
towards the hotel. Were told by Hellmut that during the night
before there were screaming noises from the building site of the
hotel. We saw men and women climbing over the wall. Two detained
persons working in el-Mukassad hospital approached us, telling us
that their IDs had been taken, but a few moment later a border
police jeep arrived and the Ids were returned as soon as we
approached the jeep.
Took a transit to Sawahre, arriving c. 9:15.
2 jeeps and 6 border policemen. People are allowed to cross freely
- both directions. Strangely enough some people were allowed to
pass without documents.
But, 15 young men detained.(according to different versions,
waiting for 3 or 1 hour).
We contacted Ran Kravitz, to find out how the alleviation of the
closure policy that had been announced that morning was carried
out. The answer was a complicated explanation that Sawahre is not a
closure checkpoint, and that the ease in the closure is only for
people with a permit. These men did not have any permit. In spite
of the explanation, at 09:50 the Ids were returned and people went
freely in whichever direction they wished. Every one with a student
card was permitted to cross to Abu Dis.
Transits and trucks:
Crossing freely from Bethlehem to Abu Dis (after being checked),
including cars with a Palestinian number plate. The line of cars
from Sawahre to Bethlehem was huge - no movement at all. We asked
why. The answer: "We shall open it as well when the patrol
returns from wadi Nar". After about 5 minutes the border
policemen started to check the cars from this direction as well,
and all began to move.
It seemed to us that in each case we approached the border
policemen, they immediately released the people and
1 ambulance, coming from Bethlehem, crossed freely.
Later: 2 ambulances came from direction of Bethlehem, and 1 from
Abu Dis, They met at the checkpoint. The paramedics transferred 3
people (one child and one of the adults with cancer) with a family
member from the 2 ambulances into the 1 that came from Abu Dis.
They do it in order to save time by crossing as few checkpoints as
possible. They were heading for Jericho's Hospital.
The general atmosphere seemed to be better and the border policemen
were all relatively polite.