Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Sheikh Saed, Sun 8.3.09, Morning
Very few waiting to cross. The rules about where to stand and how to behave are very clear. Despite the sparseness of traffic, crossing is slow, while those crossing wait patiently until summoned to move along.
8:00 Zeitim Crossing
The checkpoint is almost empty. Very clean; a worker is constantly cleaning. Much more respectable looking than Kalandia, but those crossing are treated as less than respectable. An older man in Palestinian dress seems lost, doesn't understand Hebrew, stands at turnstile #1, after a few minutes is screamed at on the loudspeaker to move to line #3 because #1 is being cleaned. He crosses, as do we. An angry young man with tears in his eyes, stands there -- he has been summoned by the Shabak. He has taken the day off, and is now asked to return tomorrow; says he won't. The clerk behind the glass partition invites him in to scold. When she sees me, she tells him to stand aside and waits for me to leave. I stay and remark on her tone of voice.
The Palestinian man is told to stand in line #3. I intervene again, angrily. The soldier tells me to leave. I refuse. The civilian guard comes up and tells me to leave, and a police officer also comes up and "gently" orders me to go away. Meanwhile, the Palestinian has gone to line #3, and the young man exits. So do we. The civilian guard tries to explain that we cannot complain about the small cogs in the system because they are only following orders. I wonder why this sounds too awful.