Abu Dis, Sheikh Saed, Fri 19.10.07, Morning

Claire O., Barbara S.
Sheikh Saed. Throughout most of our shift, the checkpoint is manned by three BP and three private security officers.

There is only one narrow, inconvenient path serving people going in both directions.
When we arrive they try again to prevent us from going through the checkpoint to the village: "It is forbidden because it endangers us". Once again a phone call is needed to have us let through.

At the time of our arrival, around 09:00, there are very few people waiting to enter. A local resident complains bitterly to a BP at the checkpoint about disturbances by passing jeeps honking their horns at all hours of the night out of pure mischief, causing anxiety in children, destroying everybody's sleep and endangering the health of the elderly. The BP very helpfully says, "Go complain!". The man wishes to know where. The answer he gets is, "I don't care".
Interestingly, the same BP later says, "As far as I'm concerned, they can take the fence and put it there", motioning towards an undefined, very distant place.

The information we get is that the minimum age for entry is 60, for both, men and women ("this way there is less pressure"). Meanwhile, people are waiting patiently in the stench of the rotting garbage. The battalion commander, whom we call to find out if 60 is really the official minimum age and if it is really the same age for men and women, or if it is the result of a whim of the officers manning the checkpoint, he says that this policy was passed on to the CP from above and that they are acting according to their orders. The Jerusalem envelop commander does not seem to know about this policy and promises to look into the matter. An officer who arrives at about 10:20 claims that there is no such thing as age-related regulations any time other than during Ramadan, and that every case is checked individually...

A young man with a Palestinian ID, who is married to a woman with an Israeli ID, shows me a document in which his wife officially requests the authorities to facilitate her husband's entry into Jerusalem, "the eternal, unified capital of Israel" (these are supposedly the Palestinian woman's own words on the document she was made to sign).

For the first time in months we see people not contained in the list of people who filed a complaint with the Supreme Court wishing to enter. These are Palestinian women with foreign passports, and in an unusual display of flexibility, they are let in, even though it's against the rules that would require them to make a huge detour via Zeitim CP (Ras Abu Sbeitan) or Az-Za'ayyem.

A generator which supplies the checkpoint with electricity for light and air conditioning supplies the neighboring homes with a 24 hour per day "soundtrack". They explain to us that it is also needed for cameras placed further.