Qalandiya, Sun 31.5.09, Afternoon

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Roni H., Nurit Y. and Tamar F. (reporting and taking pictures)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

On the way back from the vehicle checkpoint we saw them: Standing tall, leaning on the exterior wall, they were captive inside cartons held together by white plastic- they hadn't yet been activated.

These were the new biometric hand machines, which as of the next day or the one after that are to change the routine of all the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories.

As part of a reoccurring and never ending process, the soldiers at the checkpoint/terminal are being replaced by machines. If only they were programmed to have a sense of judgment, they would probably prove to be more reasonable and fair then those ammoniums human shadows seated behind the bullet proof windows.  

Returning to Gaza:

15:30- We met A., a resident of the Gaza strip who is an important member in the Federation for Palestinian Women. The organization held it's annual conference at Ramala, and when it had closed, A' together with three other friend, had decided to head home early, even though there permit stated they were to return on the next day.

The first three entered Qalandiya checkpoint at around noon and had pass. A' was detained and was kept in the back room alone for an hour.

A' had her personal reasons why she needed to get back home to her family. Since time was pressing - knowing that the DCL offices close at 16:00, we phoned the war room of the DCL. Nadav, the soldier who answered, came back to us immediately and referred A' to the DCL office. A' was exhausted and frightened. She was shivering from fear of the renewed encounter with the soldiers. We promised we wouldn't let her pass on her own and escorted her to the DCL passage.    

15:40- The turnstiles at that lane were locked. We called Nadav again, he told us to wait there while he called the soldiers.

15:50- The turnstile opened. The four of us walked on towards the soldiers who wouldn't let us continue, saying that the DCL was closed. I managed to make it through to the last turnstiles and saw that the office was indeed deserted. The ordered, however, are that the office is not to close before 16:00.

16:00- A telephone call from Nadav- he couldn't help us. The DCL had already closed (we found that on our own) and gave us the telephone number of the DCL at Beit El and suggested that we call them. But the number he gave us connected us with him again, like a closed loop.

16:05- We called the organization "Gisha" and gave Yadin Ilan, a lawyer, the details of this case.

Yadin started handling A.'s case, while staying in touch with us.

16:50- Yadin told us that the problem was solved. He gave us that phone number of the deputy of the operations officer, so that we could settle the rest with him. We called E', the deputy of the operations officer, and waited for his arrival.

17:00- E. called us to say that he was inside the checkpoint and that he had given orders to let A' pass through lane number 4. We asked him whether we would see him while we passed, he said we wouldn't: he would watch us passing through the cameras... (we found ourselves newborn big brother)

17:25- We helped A' find a cab that was to take her to Erez checkpoint.

20:25- A. phoned to tell us that she reached the Israeli side of Erez.

21:15- A. arrived at the Palestinian side of the checkpoint (she still had to go through the inspections on the other side).

22:45- A. arrived at her home.  

The way from Qalandiya to Gaza must be a little over a hundred kilometers, but it took A' about eight hours to complete it. Flights to any European destine or even to India would take less time.

  • But Gaza, as opposed to the rest of the word, is on the dark side of the moon.

A' and her family couldn't stop thanking us, but all the gratitude need to be directed to Yadin. We were only there to make the connection.