Abu-Dis

Jun-2-2003
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Passage remains closed at gas station,
and virtually no one was around when we arrived about 6:45. No one
even trying to scale the wall secretly. Up the hill the passage way
was open and border policemen let people pass freely, hardly
checking at all.

We crossed to the Eastern side and took 2 transits to Wadi Nar. On
the way we passed quiet villages and picturesque views. At the Wadi
Nar checkpoint passage was smooth but slow. There were several
soldiers in a jeep at the checkpoint but only one or two at a time
got out to work. This meant that for a good part of the time we
were there, either pedestrians were allowed to pass, or vehicle
were checked and let through. At hardly any point did enough
soldiers get out so that this could be done simultaneously. When we
questioned this, they replied that they did not want there to be
too many people clamouring to the check point at a time. We noticed
that the soldiers were eating and smoking while working. This
behaviour struck us as unprofessional and unbecoming--as well as
demeaning for the people being delayed by the soldiers' seeming
lack of interest. Ironically, the soldiers did act with respect and
compassion.

Drivers complained that they had been waiting for nearly 2 hours
already. It was not clear if this was an exaggeration or not.
Vehicles themselves were not checked--only the drivers, and if
pedestrians were turned back they headed for a route on the next
hill where people were avoiding the checkpoint, but making it up
from the valley to awaiting transits. Many people successfully used
this route. In fact, we later saw a woman who had been refused at
Wadi Nar, in Abu Dis. Alas, after having spent so much change for
the transits there, she was refused entry to Jerusalem in Abu Dis (
she had no ID).