Good rain is falling, increasing the hardship of those enforced to walk long distances.
7:00 Wadi Nar
Lively traffic, generally flowing. When we arrived there was a line from the direction of Bethlehem.
A taxi was detained for 15 minutes.
A mother and her son, under one umbrella, approach the checkpoint from the east, looking for the shortest route which happens to be on the periphery of the defined checkpoint area. The checkpoint area, surrounded by curls of barbed wire, is larger than the checkpoint itself, and includes a section of the short road which used to be the direct continuation of the road between Sawahara A-Sharkiah and houses east of the checkpoint. Today the road is open, and they choose to shorten their walk. A soldier reprimands them.
The woman pretends not to hear, and they reach their destination.
Later, the woman came up to us to ask what could be done about the approach from Sawahara in area C (the eastern houses) to Sawahara in area B. Palestinians are forbidden to drive in area C. She emphasizes the problems of accessibility for school children who are compelled to walk miles in the rain for lack of permits for organized transportation. She also tells of the difficulties of pregnant women and the sick in reaching the vehicles which they must leave far from home.
Furthermore, no building permits are given for the eastern area (sure! how else can Keidar grow??), and this creates difficulties for the future of their children. She called on us to do something about it!
When we returned, we visited Keidar (without name tags). The settlement has grown and is very well established. A new neighbourhood is under rapid construction in the south-western part of the settlement.
8:20 Zeitim Crossing
Not much traffic; slow crossing relative to the paucity of persons crossing.
A bus is checked [how does this match Shira's report of forbidden access of vehicles? We saw but one bus, but this was not rush hour].
All the passengers disembarked and a security guard and military policeman checked them. At the end of the check the passengers got back into the bus, with the exception of a youth with a distorted body and speech impediment. His condition elicited gales of laughter from the guard and policeman. I recall the impressions of a European visitor regarding the "service" of the security people at the checkpoints...
Later, an older border policeman was summoned, and he allowed the youth to cross on foot. He explained that the young man did not have an ID, and that he was letting him through on humanitarian grounds.