Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)
15:30: Atarot: There was no line at the CP.
15:40: Qalandiya: All the cages in the northern shed were full of people (ca. 60) and the internal passageways were full as well. The soldier on duty in the booth in the northern shed showed signs that he was paying attention to his surroundings and, at first, opened the carousels permitting entry to the CP every time the internal passageways emptied out. (Unfortunately, his attention span evaporated very quickly.)
When the wait in the cages began to lengthen, after about a quarter of an hour, we phoned headquarters and called their attention to what was going on. Very shortly all the carousels opened and all the people entered the CP. Only one cage in the shed remained active and quickly filled up with 30 new clients.
16:00: We noticed that the internal lines were not moving at all. When they once again began to move we decided to get on line as well. It took us only 5 minutes to pass through the CP to the Jerusalem side, but then it turned out that we were the last to get through and afterwards there was a period of 15 minutes when nothing moved. Natanya asked two security guards what was causing the delay and they answered, "Who cares, it's only Palestinians." We could not discover what was causing the problems so that we concluded that it was all the result of indifference and lack of consideration on the part of the soldiers.
Inside the passageway the DCO had hung up many signs inviting the residents of Beit Hanina, Bir Nabala and A-Ram who had lost their security clearance to come to the DCO offices on December 28th between 8:30 AM and 12 Noon.
We went through the CP once again. The lines had begun to get shorter. From the southern square we could see that the line of cars at Atarot now reached as far as the turn in the road.
17:05: There were no more lines at Qalandiya CP. We left to return to Jerusalem. At Lil/Jabba CP the line of 12 cars was moving slowly. There was no line at Hizmeh.
18:10: I passed through Atarot on my way to Tel Aviv. There was no line of cars..
15:30: Atarot: There was no line at the CP.
15:40: Qalandiya: We arrived at the CP and drove through to the northern parking lot. On our way we counted 11 buses waiting in the northern square. Inside the CP three passageways were operating (1, 3 and 4) with only a few people waiting in each. But the soldier on duty in the booth in the northern shed insisted on locking the carousel at the CP entrance so that during our entire shift there was always a line in the cages.
A young man was waiting to enter the DCO offices. A short time later he emerged from the offices without achieving his goal - a permit to enter Israel. We asked him what his story was and he told us that he, his father and mother and sister had all been living for over thirty years in Beit Hanina in Jerusalem. For the past 4 years, he said, they have been receiving permits that were good for three to four months after which they had to be renewed. The problem was that between expiration of one permit and the issue of a new one they usually had to wait a month during which time he, as the sole breadwinner who was working in the Palestinian Authority, had to steal across the border just in order to get home to his family. The rest of the family (mother, father and sister) would stay at home the whole time, afraid to go out.
16:00: We went through the CP and emerged in the southern square. From afar we could see that the line of cars at Atarot had lengthened considerably and now reached as far at the turn in the road. Seven buses were still waiting in the northern square to come through the CP. We saw that the bus station had once again been moved over to the western side of the square. The fellow organizing the bus services told us that this arrangement was only for 2 days until completion of some changes in the old bus station. He also complained that the soldiers were delaying the buses in the northern square and not letting them through the CP.
16:18: Back in the northern shed. The soldier on duty locks the carousel and leaves his post accompanied by a civilian guard. The flow of people on their way home from work continues so that within a very short while there is a very long line in the cage overflowing into the shed.
16:23: The soldier returns and opens the carousel and the flow of humanity resumes.
16:27: Five buses are still waiting in the northern square.
16:36: The shed is quiet - not many people are arriving. We left Qalandiya at 17:00.
17:15: On our way to Jerusalem we passed through Lil/Jabba and Hizmeh CPs. Traffic was flowing at both places.
18:15: On my way to Tel Aviv I passed through Atarot again. At this hour there was a huge traffic jam of approximately 200 vehicles standing in two and threes. The traffic jam was backed up from Atarot to beyond the traffic light on Highway 443.
Monday was the last day of the Id al Adkha holiday. All afternoon Qalandiya CP was crowded with families and individuals, dressed in their finest and carrying gifts, on their way to visit relatives in Jerusalem and celebrate the holiday together. Unfortunately, the authorities who run the checkpoint seem once again to have been caught unawares and unprepared (or perhaps, uncaring). Although three passageways were working all afternoon, they were not working efficiently and the wait was interminable, both in the northern shed and afterwards in the passageways. There was no way of opening the "humanitarian gate" for the mothers leading multiple children, some sitting in carriages. Instead the mothers were forced to fold the carriages and hold their infants, as well as their packages, in their arms and squeeze (literally) slowly through the narrow metal cages that funnel people into the carousels (turnstiles) leading to the passageways. We saw several instances of families arriving at Qalandiya and, despairing at the crowding and the length of the wait, turning around to head back home. Just another example of the casual inhumanity practiced so casually at the checkpoint. Happy Holiday!!!!
15:15: The line of cars at Atarot CP reached beyond the turn in the road. Soldiers were checking drivers' papers selectively.
15:30 - Qalandiya: About 90 people were waiting in the northern shed, lined up in the 3 "cages" and spilling over into the shed itself. Inside the CP three passageways were active. Along with the female soldier operating the gates, three policemen were in the booth in the shed. Nothing at all seemed to be moving.
15:44: Two civilian guards playfully "attacked" the booth with automatic weapons at the ready, joining the four already inside. We called CP Headquarters to ask if something couldn't be done to speed up passage of the CP. Shortly thereafter the carousels were opened and about half of those waiting in the shed were allowed to enter the CP. One of the policemen in the booth came out and with no apparent reason shouted at those standing in the line nearest the booth that the line was closed. Then he turned to the soldier operating the carousels and signaled to her to close it. We immediately started to phone for help and when he saw this he went back inside watching us...and then suddenly the turnstile reopened. If the line had been closed, the people who had been waiting there for at least 20 minutes to enter the CP would have had to go to another turnstile where they would have been last in line.
15:55: After new arrivals, there were now more than 100 people in the northern shed with more coming in all the time, many women with young children and entire families. Once again the carousels were opened and swiftly closed once again, separating a 3-year old from his mother caught inside. We tried to attract the attention of the policeman in the booth to the crying youngster but he was impervious.
16:09: The lines are still very long. None of the peddlers selling refreshments from their wagons are at the CP today - perhaps they're celebrating the holiday. The only one present is the ever-smiling "coffee man".
16:20: Two women arrive with 4 children in tow and an infant sleeping in his carriage. We ask the soldier, through the fence and the closed booth windows, if she could please open the humanitarian gate. The soldier actually tries, calling someone on the phone to ask how to help. But in the end she shrugs her shoulders to show there's nothing she can do. And the women slowly thread their way through the cage and finally fold the carriage up when they get to the carousel.
16:29: A middle aged woman arrives carrying a 10-year old boy whose leg is bandaged from knee to ankle. The boy, a Jerusalem resident who was visiting his friend in Qalandiya, had been playing outside and fallen from a boulder and the woman was trying to take him through the CP and return him to his family so that he could get medical care. Once again the soldier in the booth shrugged her shoulders at her inability to help, but she did open the carousel and allow everyone in that line to enter until the woman herself, still carrying the 10-yr. old, had entered the CP.
16:37: There were still more than 100 people waiting in the northern shed to enter the CP.
16:40: We spotted the woman with the 10-yr. old as she returned without him. She said she had delivered him to his parents who had taken him to Hadassah Hospital.
16:57: There were still more than 100 people waiting in the northern shed to enter the CP.
17:10: We left Qalandiya to return to Jerusalem. There was a line of 11 vehicles at Lil/Jabba CP with more arriving all the time. There was a huge traffic jam on the way to Hizmeh, but at the CP itself the traffic was moving slowly but surely.
15:10: We drove past Atarot CP on our way to Qalandiya. There were 4 vehicles in line but traffic was moving.
15:15 - Qalandiya: As we drove toward the southern square of Qalandiya we could see that traffic from Jerusalem was backed up for quite a distance. By the time we reached the square (about 2 minutes), we joined a horrific traffic jam. It took more than half an hour to just get around the square and reach the parking lot at the northern CP entrance. An ambulance coming from Jerusalem somehow managed to creep ahead until is also came to a standstill in the square, sirens shrieking. There was quite a large contingent of policemen present, including Babayan and Eli, with whom we are well acquainted. They were not actually directing traffic, but somehow their presence stopped people from jumping the queue and violating traffic laws (like driving in the wrong direction) so in the end, little by little the traffic did eventually inch ahead. As we crossed the CP going north, we could see a group of armed soldiers sheltering together behind the Wall. Not far from them, two kids threw a stone at the cars ahead of us. A woman got out and shouted at them to stop throwing stones at Palestinians. Many people were milling around in and near the parking lot, especially young men. Passersby told Natanya that there had been an exciting football match in A-Ram: Palestine vs. Jordan, and that this was the reason for the crowds.
We were several cars behind the ambulance. When we reached the northern square, we saw that ambulance personnel were treating an elderly man for injuries. It later turned out that while crossing the square on foot the man had had a dizzy spell and fallen and hurt himself (he was not injured by the rock throwing). Apparently the reason that the ambulance crossed the CP was that they were returning an incubator which belonged to the hospital in Ramallah. After depositing the incubator (and the attending doctor) on the ground at the side of the parking lot, the ambulance departed to return to Jerusalem leaving the doctor to wait to be picked up by people from his own hospital.
16:00: Inside the CP three passageways were working (very slowly). Lines, however, were not very long. Behind us stood a group of 25 middle-aged French tourists who had just visited Ramallah and were returning to Jerusalem. They had nothing good to say about the Occupation. After passing through Passageway No. 2 we waited to see how the tourists would fare, and saw that they were not having any major problems. But one of them, a man with 2 hearing aids, was instructed to remove the aids and send them through the X-ray machine before crossing through the magnetic barrier. Of course, without the hearing aids he couldn't hear what the soldiers were telling him which created a minor problem. But he too eventually made it to the Jerusalem side of the barrier.
16:25: On emerging from the CP into the southern square we saw that the policemen were actively trying to alleviate the ongoing traffic jam by opening the gate in the Wall between Qalandiya and
A-Ram and directing some of the traffic in that direction. The line of traffic from Jerusalem was still backed up for a considerable distance. We spoke with Babayan and Eli, who attributed all the problems to the stone throwers, and continued around the square. Within a minute we noticed that the police had closed the gate in the Wall and walked off, trapping all the traffic in the square once again. We tried to phone both Babayan and Eli but neither answered their cell-phones. Meanwhile we noted that the bus-stop had been moved and positioned at the exit from the new terminal facility being built on the western end of the CP. We could not find out if this was a permanent or just a temporary arrangement.
16:30: All the traffic in the square was at a standstill again.
On our way back through the CP we noted that the biometric machines were still out of order.
Three pedestrian passageways were still operating. Emerging into the northern square we could see that a long line of traffic was backed up on the road from Ramallah.
16:50: We left Qalandiya on our way back to Jerusalem. We discovered more traffic jams en route, but at the CPs that we passed, Lil and Hizmeh, traffic was flowing unhampered by the soldiers on duty
14:45: On our way to Qalandiya we passed by Atarot CP. There were no vehicles waiting in line.
14:50 - Qalandiya: The CP was almost empty in the afternoon heat of the hamsin. No one was waiting in the DCO shed. The soldier operating the PA system was shouting something unintelligible, so we went out to the parking lot to see if anything was happening. When we stood next to the fence at the end of the parking lot, the soldier began shouting at us to move away. We didn't move but the driver of one of the passing mini-buses called out attention to a detainee just the other side of the wall from us who was sitting on the ground and was being watched over by an armed guard. We had to go back through the CP and around to get to the Jerusalem side of the wall. By the time we got there, the detainee and the guard were gone. One of the drivers told us that the detainee was a cripple who had tried to take a short-cut to Jerusalem and avoid the pedestrian CP lines. He said that the soldiers had made him return towards Qalandiya.
Meanwhile we saw that the line of cars at Atarot had grown to 10, but traffic was still moving.
On our way back through the CP we noted once again that the biometric machines are not working.
15:30: Only one passageway through the CP was operating, No. 3, and a long line extended from there all the way back to the carousels. Natanya called the humanitarian hot-line and I called the "hamal" number. Immediately another passageway was opened and the line began to move. We noticed that 3 people were waiting in line in passageway No. 5 for the DCO offices. We phoned the offices and spoke with Avital who promised to see what she could do. It turned out that 2 of the people, who had already been waiting half and hour in line, only wanted to go to the post office to pay some bills. But the post office closed at 15:30 and by the time they got there, at 15:50, they were out of luck. If the same line serves people who need to get to public offices as well as the DCO, there should be some way of letting them through efficiently.
16:00: Two passageways were working in the pedestrian CP. Traffic was getting heavier.
16:15: We left Qalandiya and drove back to Jerusalem via Lil (no lines) and Hizmeh (traffic was flowing).
From 1:30 till 4:00 PM
Atarot CP, Industrial Area and Vocational High School, Givat Zeev CP and Nebi Samuel
We drove along the Ramot Road and turned right at the Ofer Junction. The road there was (again) newly asphalted - shiny black with bright yellow markings. Two bored soldiers were hardly watching the traffic at the Atarot Checkpoint. On our way back, however, when the traffic had increased, we counted about thirty cars waiting amongst which even a police van.
Huge billboards and signs announce the ‘revival' of Atarot and in addition to the construction of more industrial buildings the roads are widened with lamp posts in the middle - the economic crisis has not struck the industries in the territories apparently. Two polite civilian Arab guards man the entrance and told us that they know most of the cars entering and otherwise they ask and investigate (we, of course, had not been questioned). They told us that not only Jewish enterprises construct new buildings and that the entrance in manned 24 hours a day.
We proceeded to the school where we saw the older students just leaving for the weekend and were welcomed by the guard with a broad smile. Two teachers also left, one addressing us in German and one in Hebrew. Mr. Wasfi Tamimi the acting Headmaster told us he is glad he has not been appointed Headmaster, since he has to answer Jordanian qualifications and claims they do not understand the needs of a school in Jerusalem.
He told us he now belongs to the Israeli school system and will have to meet with the Jerusalem Municipality's Education Dept. The decision was purely financial: Instead of 400 Sh. per student he now receives more than four times as much from the Israeli government, which of course was the incentive. He would like to have an administrator with experience as his boss and he himself would then concentrate on the educational aspects of the job. He is currently doing research for a Master's degree and investigates the detrimental influence of an illiterate background on the motivation of students. He told us that in East Jerusalem often twenty people live in one room where the father is a drug or alcohol addict and where incest is rampant. We asked him about dropouts and whether he is allowed to dismiss teachers and send students home. He told us with pride that he had added the tenth grade in order to instill in students even more of a desire to learn a trade. He was pleased to inform us that his students from Nablus and Hebron now received a three months' permit to remain in Jerusalem and sleep over. They can now return home for the weekend without fear and return on Saturday early in the morning. He has about forty students in the boarding school, but no one stays for the weekend, when the place becomes spooky and he is all alone with his wife and baby on the premises. He told us that students and teachers from Ramalla wait for more than an hour in Qalandia in the morning - although the hand-machines have been installed and notifications were handed out re checking on the way out, this is fortunately still not implemented. The most popular department is that of Hotel Management. They have the space to equip a proper hotel and look for a donor who would furnish the place, so they could host pilgrims on the way to Ben Gurion Airport (which is very close via Road 443). He wants to organize courses for girls in computer sciences and also have them participate in the Hotel School curriculum which includes amongst others cooking (the Deputy Chef of the Notre Dame restaurant teaches cooking).
The Givat Zeev Checkpoint with its many fences, gates, sleeves, walls and security roads now appears almost finished and is an enormous complex for the few Palestinians who are allowed to use it, namely only those who work in the construction of the various suburbs of Givat Zeev. The civil security guards knew exactly who we were, one of them remembered ‘us' from Tarqumiya. However the commander, an elderly Border Policeman, had no idea and called his officer to ask whether we could go in. He was instructed to tell us to watch from far away. Since there were hardly any people passing, we didn't insist and left, deciding to return some other time at a later hour.
There were many cars parked and it looked like another busy day at the holy site of Nebi Samuel. Our friend, the owner of the grocery store, was trying to sell some fruit at the entrance. He told us that ‘they' come all the time to chase him away. We promised to come to take photo's next week. We continued into the village, which looked even sadder than before, if at all possible. A donkey was nibbling on dried thistles and a young man was galloping on a horse. We saw no sign of the settler.
15.40 The traffic is flowing fairly smoothly but the line of cars waiting is very long. From where we stood we counted 20 cars (and after them was a long line). The 21st car arrived within 4 minutes approximately. The checking was random. (seemed to be every third car). A truck was at the side of the road in the line of traffic as were all the other cars. One must note that in the route leaving Ramallah in the direction of Jerusalem is a checking post with electric sockets but without any other gear and without a shade. It is not manned.
16.00 2 checking posts open and about 10 people in each.
16.10 Two vans with Israeli license plates are parking the taxi area. A short clarification elicits the fact that this is a family, a father of 9 children) who had been driven out by the Palestinian Authority. He had worked for them for 10 years but had been fired and ordered to leave the West Bank. The family tried to get permission to move to Jordan but were also refused and therefore had to make their way to Gaza. Their last refuge. The family had permits permitting all to pass the checkpoint but the two vans which had their worldly possessions had been delayed in the carpark since
15.15. One driver said that in the past he had gone through the checkpoint with a loaded van a number of times but this time the soldiers had refused to check and said that they they to go through the Betunia checkpoint. The father spoke to the lawyer who had sent up their permits for the passage.
16.20 The policeman, Babian, came to find out why they were parked in this area which was not meant for such cases. When he had listened to the story he ordered the soldiers to check the baggage and to let the family go on their way. But after he had gone they ignored the instructions and just stood and laughed.
16.22 In our first conversation with the humanitarian center we were asked to phone in a few minutes while they checked what was happening.
16.30 The policeman, Doron Cohen, came and told the drivers that they could not go through the checkpoint and that they had to go through Beitunia. The drivers explained to him that the cars with the baggage also had passengers and that the permit for the latter was only until 19.00 that night. They asked for the baggage to be checked at the post. The policeman, Cohen, refused to listen and said that he had been working for two years at Beitunia and only there was it possible. He suggested that one car take the family to Gaza and that the other try to take the baggage through either the next day or the day after and that they make the coordination with the Erez checkpoint. When the father explained that he and his family had not prepared for such a situation and that all their things, clothes, toothbrushes, etc were packed Doron said that they could do so now and take whatever necessary. One of the drivers again asked that the soldiers came to check the cars and the policeman said rudely, " I will not give you even half a soldier. I don't work for you."
While this exchange was taking place we made another call to the humanitarian centre which put us through to the DCO at Qalandiya. There they said that they and the operations officer were dealing with the matter and the drivers should stay where they were. The policeman, Cohen, argued by phoned with someone at the DCO and afterwards left the area. The lawyer of the family was speaking to the other captains at the Erez crossing.
16.40 There is great pressure of those returning home through the checkpoint. About 40 workers stand before the turnstiles and one can hear shouting and pushing. They say that they are ordered to pass the magnetic card through the device which is not working properly and that therefore they are being delayed. There is a pressing problem as the women returning to Ramallah because there is not separate humanitarian line. Some women wait at the side so that the men should first pass. We reported this to the humanitarian centre. After some minutes it seems that the machines are again working and the line begins to move.
16.50 Another call to the centre and they promise us that the problem of the family is being dealt with and that in the next few minutes a DCO representative will come. While we were talking he arrived, captain Ron who speaks excellent Arabic. We wish to say that he really did try in all earnestness to find a solution to the problem. After speaking to the father and the drivers an arrangement was made by which the family would wait at the Israeli side of the checkpoint and that all their goods would be put onto one car which would be sent back to the Palestinian area where it would go through the x-ray machine. He promised that after that the family would be able to go on their way. He said that there was no other way and that that was the maximum that could be done to help. We spoke to the centre again but they also said that that was the only way. One of the drivers takes out a bag and the contents are emptied on to the ground. He again asks sergeant Ron to check in the parking area but Ron refuses. He does however say that only the boxes and the suitcases will have to go through and not sheets. Carpets and blankets which could be checked there. The family, mother and 7 daughters, hurry out and put everything back into the bag.
Everything is put into the one car and the family stay on the Israeli side of the checkpoint. The father and one of the drivers go to the Palestinian side to have everything checked. Now the passage is free and we go back quickly to the Palestinian side.
17.30 The vans are now on the Palestinian side and stop next to the kiosk of coffee. They begin to unload and take the baggage to the other side. Some people there offer to help and we specially want to note that Waji , the coffee vendor who immediately understood what was happening did everything that he could to help.
All the gear was put at the side entrance. Sergeant Ron opened the gage and from there the goods were taken to the x-ray machine at the entrance to the DCO and sent through. From there is would again be taken to the Israeli side and to the parking lot where the family was waiting. Sergeant Ron was in command of the entire procedure and kept his promise.
18.00 The loading of the goods on the Palestinian side finished and then began on the Israeli side and everything went through.
Our shift was nearly over but it seemed that the troubles of the family were not yet over.
Epilogue. 22.20 A conversation with the driver, Mr. Ramadan gave us to understand that the vans had arrived at Erez and that the family were being checked through.
On Tuesday morning we learned that the family and the vans had arrived and that the family had passed the inspection. Mr. Ramadan was told that we were writing this report about the incident.
It was the day of the Naqhba as well as during the Pope's visit . I feared that there might be some difficulty, but there was no indication of anything special happening.
There was considerable traffic toward Qalandiya from Atarot. Traffic was quite heavy but moving slowly but steadily in both directions. We arrived just as the school children were returning home so there was a lot of activity in both directions.
Anata. Tremendous construction is going on to the right of the current checkpoint (facing Anata). We were told by the security guards that that will be the location of a huge checkpoint -- probably of the same dimensions as Qalandiya. It is due to be finished by 2010 by which time the wall now being built around Anata will be completed and the entire Anata area will be totally encircled even though a high proportion of those who will be on the wrong side of the wall carry Jerusalem i.d.'s and are totally dependent on Jerusalem for their livelihoods.
15:40: The line of cars at Atarot CP was already quite long but did not yet reach around the bend.
15:45: Qalandiya: At the entrance to Qalandiya CP we were happily surprised to meet our friend the coffee vendor who was at his "post" again and told us that the soldiers were not bothering him (for the moment). Within the pedestrian CP, three passageways were operating and the number of people on line was not large.
15:50: We passed through the CP and emerged in the vehicle CP (Jerusalem side). There we saw a transit-bus drive up and disgorge 12 young men, apparently "illegal border crossers", each of whom in turn received his ID documents.
In the vehicle examination post close to where we were standing we saw a Palestinian man with a bicycle talking to an Israeli police officer. When the policeman walked off we spoke with the man, Musa, and it turned out that he was a resident of East Jerusalem (Israeli ID) and an employee of the UN. On Monday morning, returning home after a shift as night-watchman at a UN post near Ramallah, soldiers at the vehicle CP had taken his ID card and his UN card and had not returned them. Musa was tired so he left his documents at the CP and went home to sleep, returning in the afternoon to look for his papers. Police officer Babayan called headquarters to find out where the papers were and he was told that Musa would be able to claim them only in another 2 weeks. And how was Musa to walk around and go to work without his ID documents? We phoned the Association for Citizens' Rights to ask for help and also, on the recommendation of Hannah B., we suggested to Musa that he call his boss at the UN and ask him to intervene for him. (The boss really did get to work, but only on Tuesday was Musa able to collect his papers.)
Meanwhile the line of cars going towards Ramallah had gotten very long and extended all the way around the southern CP square. The line of cars at Atarot was also very long and reached beyond the horizon.
16:20: We returned to the pedestrian CP. We noted, in the northern shed, that cordon-ribbons had been tied around the narrow entrances to two of the carousel lanes, so that only one carousel was open to the public. We asked the security personnel how the crowds of people on their way to work in the morning would get through and he answered smiling, "slowly." We saw no signs that anyone was fixing the problem.
Within the CP three passageways were still working and lines were small and moving quickly.
We stayed at Qalandiya until 17:30. There were no unusual occurrences. We returned to Jerusalem via Lil and Hizmeh CPs. At Lil traffic was flowing undisturbed. Hizmeh was crowded but there was not much of a delay.
Natanya G. and Phyllis W.
15:30: At Atarot CP 30 cars were waiting in line. We timed passage at approximately 6 minutes. The soldiers on duty at the CP reported that there were security alerts.
16:00 Qalandiya: We stopped to talk to one of the coffee vendors in the parking lot. He told us that many of his clients had recently reported that their passage permits had been confiscated in the CP.
Three passageways were operating inside the CP and there were no lines. We passed through the pedestrian CP and went to check the vehicle CP. From the distance we could see that the line of cars at Atarot CP was still quite long. At Qalandiya the soldiers were examining the crowded buses on their way to Ramallah. Trucks and private cars on their way to Ramallah were not being checked at all. There were no buses waiting in the northern square (at the entrance to the CP). We noted that all the buses entering the CP from the north were empty - they carried no passengers at all.
We also met the bank clerk from Jerusalem (thanks to the past but now-suspended "family unification" program) who works in Ramallah and who spoke with the Sunday MW team. He was not allowed through Qalandiya CP on Monday as well - the soldiers refused to recognize the note confirming that his case was under consideration by the Ministry of the Interior. The poor man was forced to go back to Ramallah and look for a place to sleep.
The female soldier checking people's papers in Passageway No. 2 was very nervous and at the end of her tether. Again and again she shouted into the PA system: "khuti kol ishi fi salla" (i.e. put everything in the basket [of the x-ray machine]) as if the people currently on line were the same as those she'd yelled at a few minutes earlier. The crude behavior of our soldiers is unbelievable.
Workers returning to the Palestinian territories after their day's work told us that all the passengers on buses passing through Qalandiya from Ramallah are now required to get off and pass through the CP on foot - "all" includes old people and sick people and pregnant women.
We also met a tourist from Korea who told us that she had come to visit Israel out of love for the country but was very disturbed to see that the conditions of the Palestinians were very bad. Out of concern for Israel she wanted to let us know that the difficult conditions of the Palestinians would only increase their hatred.
We left Qalandiya and returned to Jerusalem via Lil and Hizmeh. There were no lines.