Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, יום א' 23.8.09, אחה"צ
"Everything is set and ready for your orders, commander!"
The last preparations for the arrival of thousands of people on the Ramadan Fridays were being preformed:
The part of the wall by the vehicle checkpoint and the pillbox had been cleaned and whitewashed.
With one brush stroke the painting of the handcuffed Maruan Baraguty in his prison cell had been erased, so has the post card citing verses from the Koran, the tank fueled by the strength of the olive tree above it and the figure of Mahamud Darwish.
From the other side of the checkpoint, on the part of the wall on the northern side of the parking lot, the Arabic word for "Return" had been erased.
- - The parking lot and the waiting shed had been cleaned by from the piles of rubbish.
Its clear that they had learned from their mistakes of last year: the passages leading to the sterile zone are more narrow then they were last year, and cement blocks (pieces from the wall) had been added to the ones that had remained there from last year, they are to close the area where security forces will stand and shove backwards those wanting to pass for their Friday prayer. Snipers posts have also been added to the ones that had been waiting patiently since last year; piles of dirt had been gathered to make it impossible for anyone to pass without supervision.
As a result: there was heavy traffic on the vehicle lane for those coming from Ramalla.
The passage was like an extremely narrow bottleneck on a hefty bottle.
This was a typical display of the generosity bestowed upon the Palestinians in the form of "passage relives".
It was indeed clean and spotless, it was whitewashed, but it was also horrifying.
This emptiness would make you feel threatened, a place that was once decorated with graphite, lots that had been swept-up (something that is rarely done), passage lanes meant for human beings fenced by barbed wires, piles of dirt and trenches that had been dug to prevent anyone from passing without the permission of the sovereign.
The inspection lanes had been open and closed alternately: those waiting for their turn would discover that the lane they had chose to stand in had been closed, and then they were forced to move to another lane and those who had been the first in line before found themselves to be the last in their new lane. After several minutes: again, but this time the other way around. On the official sign showing the exit from the checkpoint showing to: "Judea and Samaria", was word "Palestine" was added in hand writing; someone that made a correction.
- On the western side of the vehicle checkpoint they had begun working on the construction of an additional lane (perhaps two).
The workers that were heading home from Atarot Industrial Center told us of the difficulties they came across when passing during the morning hours. There are long lines and the waiting time is endless. They are forced to pass through this checkpoint if they wish to get to work.
Due to the amount of people passing on that morning, and the electrical blackout that caused the computers to shut down, they arrived at the other side of the checkpoint at 7:00AM, in spit of the fact that they had headed out at 4:30AM. When arriving at work they had been rebuked for their tardiness and threatened they would loss their jobs.
We were greeted with a smile and offered a cold drink. "Welcome to the most boring checkpoint upon the face of the earth", said the reserve soldiers manning the checkpoint.
We couldn't argue about it being dull. But we would prefer to refer to it as the most unjustified checkpoint on the face of the earth. It is so unjustified that even the army isn't able to come up with a security pretext to explain it. .