Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Thu 3.7.08, Morning

Observers: 
Michaela R., Yehudith S. (reporting and filming)
03/07/2008
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Morning
One day after the terrorist attack in Jerusalem -- it seems that traffic through the first two checkpoints is sparse.  School children are on summer vacation.
 
6:20 Sheikh Sad

Four soldiers are at the check point, 1 checking documents, 3 sitting aside, "unemployed".  Traffic is sparse.  The usual routine: whenever a Palestinian comes down for the checking of documents the rest wait up the hill.  There is no line waiting.  Individuals dribble in and the check is fast.  One Palestinian arrived carrying a water container wrapped in a colourful cloth.  He was asked to open the container to check if it was indeed water.

6:55  Zeitim Crossing

We found a very quiet checkpoint on arrival, almost no line as far as we could see.  Two ecumenical representatives on the Palestinian side of the check point later crossed to the Israeli side and they too said it  was a very quiet day.  Their crossing took c. 10 minutes because their passports were checked, they were asked who they were and what their business was.  They were allowed to cross only after a telephone inquiry.  A Palestinian who crossed greeted us and said that few were crossing today because of yesterday's attack.  A woman too came up and told that she was coming from Al Ezarya, her home, on her way to her workplace, an old age home for women in Beit Hanina.  She has to take 3 buses to reach her destination.  The few men crossing are, as usual, buckling their belts.

7:50  Wadi Nar -- The Container

 
The checkpoint is almost entirely dismantled.  Only two concrete blocks marking the lanes remain.  They remind us of the checkpoint's early days.
The concrete blocks are  assembled on the side (will they remain there as another ecological blemish, or will they be recycled for a further equally bad and harmful purpose?)  Later in the shift a large vehicle arrived with equipment for lifting heavy objects, and parked where the checkpoint used to be.
[Photos: the checkpoint before and after dismantling]

When we arrived there were long queues and 5 detained vehicles.  Duration of detention lasted 5-15 minutes because checked documents were returned only after a large number had piled up, and then several vehicles are released simultaneously.  We saw two women taken off the detained transit and asked to come to the soldier who stood under the canopy.  There was a short discussion.  When we came closer, we saw another woman standing opposite 2 military policemen under the same canopy.  One was saying she was on her way to Jordan.  Later we did not see any more women summoned in our presence.  At some point a soldier forbade travel to the road going down, beyond the grocery, and directed all the traffic to Sawahara. 

To our inquiry for the reason we got no answer -- as though we were air. Suddenly a military police jeep appeared on the road from the direction of the wadi, and when we parked near the check-point all the traffic was again redirected to the road behind the grocery.  The jeep was travelling against the direction permitted.  But of course the lords of the earth must not be obstructed in their movements and the children must move aside.  Three pedestrians who wished to cross and catch a taxi on the other side were sent back to Sawahara, to catch one there.  As usual, we were asked to move away from the checkpoint "for our safety".  At 8:50 we left