Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Thu 3.4.08, Morning

Observers: 
Yael Y., Shira V. (reporting)
Apr-3-2008
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Morning

06:40 Zeitim passage

The traffic of people is active and flowing. Many school children are going through. There are three sleeves open. According to those going through, there are two [sleeves] for grown-ups, and only one for children. We measured about a quarter of an hour waiting time. We saw a few school children who were demanded to take off their belts for checkup. One child told us that he wakes up at 05:30 in the morning every day in order to get to school in time.

07:10 Wadi Naar

A strong stench of garbage comes from the dupm. When we approached the checkpoint with the car we did not see any movement at all. We saw all the soldiers crowding in the shed, and supposed that maybe they are changing shifts. But we did not see any other group of soldiers leaving or something else that will show it.


 
As we arrived at the checkpoint itself we already saw two vans detained, and a line of cars heading from the south, waiting in front of the checkpoint.

The driver of one of the vans told us that he was waiting for 45 minutes. On the other van there was a woman student who had forgotten her ID at home, and the soldiers told her to call home and get her ID number. A few minutes later they allowed her to go through, and let the two vans go in a few minutes difference.

Before the second van was released the commander of the checkpoint Y. approached us and ordered us to move to the other side of the checkpoint, claiming that it is not safe to stand in the area of the checkpoint because of the alerts. We explained  him that this is our usual place, where we usually stand, and a discussion developed, during which we called the DCO representative E. In the meanwhile we saw that the traffic of the Palestinians is still on hold, and no vehicle goes through. We asked him what happened, and he unswered that until we move away, they will not let the traffic go. We answered that he punishes the Palestinians because of us (we do not remember his exact reaction - whether he agreed to the description, or just did not react), and we immediately moved away.

 
They released the traffic, and about a hundred vehicles went through without any checkup. We returned to our usual place, spoke with A., and finally there was a compromise we where asked to move one meter aside, behind some concrete block, and so we did.

 
During the next half hour only one van was stopped and released within a few minutes. With the other vehicles it was enough when IDs were presented on the road.

 

Many buses with school children on school trips went through freely.  Meanwhile we saw a young Palestinian who was detained at lease since we had arrived (about fifty minutes) and he was waiting aside, outside the checkpoint area. When he left we saw that he got some white paper, probablly summonning of a sort. 

 
One of the passengers of the only detained van, who presented himself as a student, and spoke in a perfect British accent, approached us and asked if we belong to the organization of the women and the checkpoints. We answered in the affirmative, and he said that he does the same route for three years now, back and forth every day, and many times the soldiers close the checkpoint, especially around 07:00 and 15:00 and there are long lines. When we arrive they release them, so he claimed. We asked if it is during change of shifts, and he claimed that he can destinguish when there is change of shifts, and this is not the case. They just block the traffic.

 
This way or the other we got another reinforcement to the importance of our presence.