Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive CP) - 4th Friday of Ramadan

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Natanya  G. (English) and Anat T. (Both photographing , Anat reporting)
מחסום הזיתים - האם הילד הקטן יעבור?
מחסום ראס אבו סביטאן (מחסום הזיתים)
מחסום ראס אבו סביטאן (מחסום הזיתים) - ילד גבוה, בדיקה נוספת

We arrived about 10.30

The news reports that again this morning there were young people rioting on the Temple Mount and that two children aged 12 and 14 were arrested for throwing stones at people on their way to pray at the Western Wall.

It is murky and unpleasant - you can barely see the Augusta Victoria Tower on Mount Scopus.

Already at the entrance to the checkpoint, it became clear to us that today there are many more people going to pray. They pay for the bus tickets at the booth at the exit of the checkpoint, and immediately buses to Nablus Gate are filled. It is very efficient. We went through the checkpoint to the parking lot. An unimaginable amount of police, border police and even a DCO representative in the compound itself, additional soldiers watching from the shed above in case that something might happen, and, of course, also standing at the entrance and the checkpoint area itself.

Then it turns out that today the real story is preventing the transition from children over the age of 12 and separating them from the families. It's really sad to see how excited families arrive with some kids, and one of them is banned from entering because of his age. It is clear that a child who is separated from the family cannot return alone. Some parents give up the transition as well, sometimes one parent goes through with the others and one goes back with the child. Many intercessions and pleas, only a small part of them are answered – where there is luck and the case was referred to the DCO officer or a female soldier who works with him. In some cases they exercised discretion and decided that a child who is  two months older than the permitted age, accompanied by younger siblings, does not endanger the security situation in Israel. The returnees are removed in no pleasant way to the path back - all quickly so there will be no delays.

Today, the inspection with manual magnetometers at the lower positions was waived, and two or three soldiers and, particularly a female soldier screamed to the people who had passed through the first inspection to continue marching up the checkpoint itself. The one woman, especially was most unpleasant. Some of the older women had problems going to the steep ramp to the actual checkpoint and she kept screaming at them….”Go up, Go up. Move. Move” Some of them probably had little experience of the checkpoint and wanted to wait for family members who are still waiting in line. At the checkpoint itself, bags, etc.  were usually inspected on the conveyor belt, and only a few are asked to have their documents checked once more. 

We tried to find out if the strict adherence that children over the age of 12 is new only from this morning, because of two children who threw stones on the way to the Western Wall. We did not get an answer. This was not the case as we remembered from the last year. 

Anyway, we spoke to the soldiers, the policemen and the DCO man. Some of them really listen to our questions - why check documents of adults who are obviously over 40, and most importantly - look at them, people like us and you who dream of coming to Jerusalem at least once a year. Such an experience of so many sad separations of families? Is it worth burning forever such family humiliations in the mind? And what anger and violence will they cause in the future?