Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Sheikh Saed, Wed 25.3.09, Morning
Sparse traffic flowing uninterrupted.
With the soldiers' permission, we crossed to the Palestinian side. Deep mud surrounds the turnstiles and the window for presenting documents. In order not to slip into the mud, those crossing swung on the metal spokes of the turnstile. We saw a woman (with a child) who slipped and had to step right into the mud. The commander told us that with every heavy rainfall the mud drifts into the checkpoint and it becomes difficult to cross. He said he had called the private company which takes care of the place to ask them to come but nothing has beeb done. In the meanwhile, after we suggested placing a plank over the mud, he ordered a soldier to place cartons.
We spoke to A., spokesman for the Civil Adinistration, and he asked us to write a letter so that the matter will be taken care of. We shall do so.
8:00 Al-Bawaabe (Pishpash)
Hallucinatory. We saw diggiing in preparation for putting up the wall, but were unable to figure out its path. On our way out we had a conversation with a soldier -- we explained our views and heard his response, including partial agreement.
Upon our arrival we headed for the famous traffic sign on the edge of the lane where vehicles are detained, according to the agreement reached with the commander A. a few weeks ago (see report, 25.2.09). The checkpoint commander (another A.) immediately came up and asked us to move back out of the checkpoint area. He threatened to detain us if we refused. We moved back a few meters, and tried to contact the battalion commander, or A., the officer of the unit in charge of crossing points, who had also been present when the agreement about the location of our observation point had been reached.
At this point, the deputy comapany commander, S., arrived, and after an interchange which produced no results, the checkpoint commander came up with the detention forms. We refused to sign, he did not insist, and returned our ID's. We asked what would be done with these detention forms, and S. said that nothing would be done since we had not signed -- they would be filed in the unit with the classification of "administrative cancellation." We protested forcefully about the policemen's abuse of their duty in writing a false report against us in order to obstruct our activities.
We must admit that, in principle, we feel it is rather useless to bother with these matters. It seems to us that the sensible thing would be to stand near the yellow concrete fence, and when the need arises (to talk to detained Palestinians), to move a few meters forward, but not beyond the traffic sign.
The conclusion we draw from this irritating episode: we should stand near the yellow fence, on the side of the checkpoint, with the possibility of moving forward when the need arises.