'Anata, Abu Dis, Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Thu 24.11.11, Morning
Rachel M., Michaela R. (reporting)
6:15 Olive Terminal
All three corridors are operating, and the long line stretches as far as the beginning of the metal track.
Checking is reasonably fast, and quiet is maintained. Around 7:20 pupils start arriving and heading for the third corridor.
When our turn came the turnstile locked after staying open for a split second. A technical failure or a malicious intention? It took us 35 minutes to cross.
Vehicles arrivng from the village are directed into the checkpoint, and this saves merging into the heavy traffic from Route 1. Vehicles are checked efficiently, and it's evident that the person checking is familiar with some of the drivers.
At this hour minibuses arrive frequently. Each minibus enters the checkpoint area, the passengers disembark, and a soldier and security guard check the vehicles. When this is over, the passengers waiting outside show their documents, then return to the minibus. Aside from one document which aroused suspicion, and whose owner was sent for a further check, all the rest proceded in an orderly fashion.
One security guard inquired whether Machsomwatch might be looking for an Arabic-speaking investigator...
Nobody knows when the new checkpoint will open, neither the neighbourhood representative nor the soldier we asked at the checkpoint. Rumour speaks of early December, but no certainty. It looks as though the main building of the new checkpoint is ready, but much work on the surroundings still awaits.
Despite the relatively late hour, the parking area for buses is crowded with children who continued to arrive from the direction of the checkpoint.
At the checkpoint, vehicles are checked on several tracks, and there were no delays. In the pedestrian track there were no lines, the little ones crossed without checks, the older ones got a quick check.