Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Thu 12.2.09, Morning
Ronnie P., Michaela R. (reporting)
6:35 Sheikh Saed
Unlike our usual experience, we met a long line.
A magnometer has been added to the array of installations in this miserable place, at the bottom of the fences leading to the checking point. People deposit their belongings on an improvised narrow space beside the magnometer, and remove their belts. There is no canopy over the magnometer or in the waiting area, which means that people are exposed to the bitter Jerusalem cold on this morning.
There was a line of some 20 people when we arrived, and it moved very slowly, lengthening into 30. Most of them were labourers who made way for the children, women and a teacher. The children crossed one by one, the magnometer beeping incessantly, but all the adults, including the women had to pass through the magnometer again and again until it stopped beeping.
We began a round of phone calls. At the Jerusalem Envelope DCO they were surprised to hear of a long line at this checkpoint. A few minutes after our call a border policeman came out of the booth and rapidly passed all the children, including relatively older youths. The line shortened miraculously.
The border policemen were bothered by our presence and made sure we did not stand near the booth, emphasizing with satisfaction that "you are just like all the rest." When we returned they again put us in our place (pun intended) "like all the rest", lest we stand too close.
We met a father who accompanied his small child to the transportation to the kindergarten. The owner of a blue ID, he told us that prohibiting the passage of vehicles was extremely burdensome. Requests to allow residents with permits to cross daily with their vehicles at this checkpoint , even for a short time, were not granted.
Few crossing. We crossed the checkpoint in the direction of Al-Ezariya and returned. Two checking points were operative, 2-4 persons waiting at each, and crossing was fast.
Busy, with traffic mostly flowing. We did not notice any prolonged delays. A grey-haired soldier ( or volunteer?) was conspicuous; his checking was very painstaking, causing a back-up in the line from Sawahara.