Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), יום ג' 17.2.09, בוקר
Anat T., Shira V. (reporting)
7:00 Sheikh Saed
A medium-sized line at the entrance to the checkpoint. Crossing was slow, but the line kept moving. When we arrived, the border-policeman (M., known to us from previous visits to be problematic in his attitude to those crossing), told us not to go to our regular observation point in the neighbourhood close to the checkpoint. In reply to our request for an explanation he said these were the instructions of the company commander. We explained that we always cross, but he insisted. The exchange on the edge of the turnstile took place in an unpleasant atmosphere, and when we began making calls to clarify the matter, he asked us to step outside the checkpoint. We refused, taking this to be an attempt to undermine our right to perform our job (but in retrospect I think we might have done better to give in at this point and move away).
In the meanwhile, because of this altercation, the line increased and N. (which is what the Palestinians call him) was not quite in control. At one point he threatened to let no one cross until we moved away, but the rest of the soldiers continued to let people cross. All this took a few minutes, then N. told us we have permission to go to our regular position, and at this point he closed the crossing point because people were crowding in the metal cages and he refused to let them cross until they had moved away to the edge of the corridors and emptied the cages.
The people refused and shouting on both sides ensued. It was quite cold and drizzling. There were dozens of people there (some 50 in my estimation). An officer named I. arrived, and in a pleasant manner managed to get the people to move back (but not as far as the required edge), and started to let them cross. Simultaneously he asked all the school children who had arrived to form a separate line from which they crossed more rapidly. His conduct was extremely impressive. After a few minutes, the line disappeared. Later we talked to him and praised his conduct, whilst berating N.'s. We also tried to talk to N. in a pleasant manner, to make him understand that he could have saved time and nerves by behaving differently towards the Palestinians. But to no avail.
8:10 Zeitim Crossing
Two corridors are operative, and traffic (not heavy) flows.
9:00 Wadi Nar
Traffic flowing. A transit which had been detained for half an hour, according to the passengers, was released after some of the passengers were served summons to the Shabak (General Security Services). It appears this was the reason for the detension.