'Anata, Abu Dis, Thu 27.3.08, Morning

Judy E., Chana S. (reporting), Sheila (a prospective watcher)

6:45 a.m.  Anata

Although as we arrived at the traffic lights, the traffic looked heavy, the two lanes of cars were moving relatively smoothly, with spot-checking of car trunks.  By the way, one friendly border policeman told us that on Thursdays the traffic is always heavier because more people use private cars so as to work a long day before the weekend.  Has anyone noticed this?

As we arrived we saw a policeman with a dog but did not see the dog being used for checking.

A number of cars came up the steep side road so as to avoid the long queue of the machsom.  Usually this road is blocked but for some reason was open today and a number of drivers managed to persuade the soldiers to check their id’s and let them through, before the commanding officer had a barrier placed. 

One young driver was actually detained because the soldiers said he had sworn at them and the situation threatened to get quite ugly, but ultimately he and his passengers were allowed to go.
The captain told us that the drivers knew that this road was closed except for people living locally (but murmured that he understood their trying to take a short cut). We pointed out that it would be less frustrating if the barrier were put at the bottom of the hill. According to the soldiers there is a barrier at the bottom of the steep road but the locals push this aside.

There were fewer than usual schoolchildren because of school holidays.