Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Tue 18.11.08, Afternoon
Chana G., Rina H., Rahel W. (reporting)
As we approached Azariah, there were several police cars parked near the entrance to the town. We drove by and were not stopped. (When we came back about two hours later, the police cars were no longer there).
We continued on to Wadi Nar and were amazed to see the changes that have taken place in the past few weeks when we were here last. The "plaza" in front of the checkpoint has been greatly increased and preparatory work has clearly taken place to enlarge the whole area and probably to make it a major terminal (such as that in A Zaim and Qalandiya). At the moment, there are only two small booths functioning -- one in each direction-- allowing those manning the area no place to sit or rest.
When we arrived, there was not one single vehicle there -- a bizarre sight. However, within minutes, traffic picked up. There was virtually no check of vehicles. Then, within a short while, there was a change of guard and the new borderpolice carried out random searches.
Because of the dry weather conditions and the loose earth from the construction, there was tremendous dust and dirt in the air. This pollution, together with the increasing piles of garbage and refuse in the area was most unpleasant and undoubtedly unhealthy. (When we returned to our car, it was covered with flies).
The driver of a large police vehicle who was transporting those who finished their shift drove past us, wished us a good afternoon and a successful shift. We returned the greeting.
While we were there, a good number of school children returned home. Traffic moved smoothly.