Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Sheikh Saed, Tue 7.10.08, Afternoon
Julia W., Rina H., Rahel W. (reporting)
We went first to Sheikh Saed, arriving there around 2:30 p.m. The place was absolutely and totally deserted. We did not see any people within Sheikh Saed, no cars moving, no shops open. Even at the checkpoint area, we had difficulty discerning any personnel, but later did note one person inside one of the booths. I can't imagine how the people in that cage maintain their sanity, let alone provide for the very basics of life.
There were several tour buses parked near the wall at Abu Dis, but we did not see any visitors to the place. Perhaps they were inside one of the small streets. Very little activity there.
A Za'ayyem quiet -- perhaps especially so because it was the day before Yom Kippur.
No special arrangements in Eizariya -- no security personnel in evidence.
When we arrived at Wadi Naar, there was a line whose end we could not see of vehicles heading south. About 7 vehicles were waiting to come north. Within a minute of our arrival, everything started moving. No checks, nothing. The border police did not even look at those coming through, just giving a wave while talking among themselves. The only ones checked at all were those in a bus, and that too could not have been more cursory.
With all the measures taken to distance us from the Palestinians and the stringency of the checkpoints, we sometimes wonder about our purpose in continuing to go out. However, when we witness time after time that our very presence causes lines to move more quickly, thereby lessening a little the indignity and hardship at the checkpoints, it's all worth the effort.