Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Thu 27.11.08, Morning
Shabak recruitment day in Wadi Nar
6:25 Sheikh Saed
Quiet crossing of workers and pupils
7:15 Zeitim Crossing
Lively traffic, many children
We passed the chekcpoint on its eastern side. Under the canopy two persons waited for the DCO. One of them said he had come for fingerprinting. The sign stating the opening hours of the DCO had been removed, and was not replaced by a new sign.
Lane number 1 was assigned to adults, number 3 to children.
The magnometer beeped when we returned through the corridor. We showed the contents of our bags, and there was a great to-do at the sight of Netta's numerous cameras. A security person appeared immediately and the corridor was closed.
Netta demanded that people be allowed to cross. In the course of negotiations, we discovered that the security person (in clothes very similar to a police uniform) was in fact a civilian guard without an identifying tag. While Netta told him he had no authority whatsoever, he crowded us against the wall and summoned G., only to disappear.
Gregory took us out of the checkpoint area, and again there was an argument about
permission to film in the area. As on previous occasions, G. claimed that this is a military area and filming is forbidden, and again as on previous occasions he said he would show us the written decree. We are still waiting... "Unfortunately" for the security people, the person who prevented our crossing did not have the slightest evidence of authorisation, not even any sort of permit from the police.
The issue of the guards' authority raises many questions. A determined reistance (including phone calls to various ranks) reveals their weakness. But we must clarify the legality of this issue.
8:10 Wadi Nar
5 vehicles were detained when we arrived, more that the usual. Documents were being returned to some, but a few were separated from their mates and made to stand beside the booth. A military jeep was parked opposite them (we have its license plate number) and next to it an armed man in civilian garments. None of the vehicles are released.
Now and then a shocked Palestinian exits from the jeep, and the armed man calls in another. After his pockets are examined he's invited into the jeep for a friendly chat. I could not believe my eyes: is this how, in broad daylight, one or another of the shadowy security organisations recruits Palestinians?
Things cleared up when a jeep with a DCO officer appeared. Netta complained about the prolonged delays caused by the Shabak activity. He replied that they "do not interfere with their work." He drove his jeep up to the Shabak jeep, and parked so as to conceal it. Like hiding a boulder with a fig leaf -- sad joke.
Palestinians leaving the jeep reported that they had been interrogated about their activities,
their places of residence, their destinations, their families, and which of their friends were active in Fatah or Hamas.
The delays were indeed long, 45-60 minutes. The occupants of one of the taxis were a lawyer and a judge from the Palestinian Authority, hurrying to the courts. At 9:10 the last of those interrogated leaves the jeep, agitated and angry. The jeep leaves, not before stopping in front of our car (...?).
Intensive work is in progress at the checkpoint itself. Lanes are opened or closed with insufficient direction of traffic, and no signs. Most of the time traffic both north and south is going though one lane, with long lines each time on either side.
Numerous Palestinian minibuses are crossing. Contrary to previous occasions, passengers are not required to disembark, and the checks were conducted by a military policeman and a guard. On one of the minibuses the guard sat down next to a young woman and did not leave even when the military policeman had finished checking. Was he harrassing the passenger?
An ambulance from Jericho waited for the arrival of an "Israeli" ambulance. The patient was transferred from stretcher to stretcher in full view of all -- not clear whether this contributed to his welfare.
The construction of the Wall in the south-eastern part of Anata continues apace