Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Wed 23.7.08, Morning
Anat T., Ayala G., Shira V. (reporting)
7:00 WADI NAR
Close to 10 vehicles -- mostly transits and a few private cars --were detained when we arrived. Some of them reported a half-hour wait. There was much traffic, and crossing was desultory. A line of about 20-30 cars stretches in front of the check-point, northward. We immediatly asked to speak to the commander in charge. To us he was polite but at the Palestinians he shouted aggressively to get back into their cars, and at one point he asked us not to stand near them because we cause them to get out of their transits. We asked him to speed up the checks. Within a few minutes the documents for most of the cars were returned, one after another. Afterwards, a random delay of vehicles and transits continued, most released after a few minutes. In conversation with the commander we were told that there is an alert on a specific private vehicle (and this could have been the cause of the unusual, relatively speaking, ratio of delays.)
8:00 ZEITIM CROSSING
The crossing is relatively empty. We entered without any problem. We asked to see Y. and/or G., the police commanders of the c.p.; both came and we talked to them at length. Among other things they told us that in the mornings, daily, c. 500 schoolchildren cross (not during vacation time), and c. 1500 adults. They claimed they open the c.p. as early as 4:30 a.m. to enable more efficient crossing of workers arriving from Bethlehem and even Katnah, in order to cross here rather than at Kalandia or Crossing #300.
They also showed us the biometric checking system, required for all workers (even though daily manual labour makes it hard for the system to recognize palms, so that they are recalled to renew the biometric print). They added that the biometric system is not the most sophisticated available, and that it comes from a private company which earns from every additional repeated print.