Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, יום א' 1.11.09, אחה"צ
15:30 - Seeing an ambulance arriving from the Occupied Territories we rushed ourselves and tried arriving at the other side before it did. The three of us entered all together, standing in front of the three soldiers at the sterile post. We placed our bags on the x-ray machine as requested and headed to the window to show the soldiers our IDs. The metal detector beeped when Hila walked through it. Nothing was found in her pockets. Hila stepped back as the soldier ordered, she then passed again through the metal detector and a beeping sound from an unknown place on her body was heard. Since she didn't have a belt on and her pockets were empty, we took her Machsom Watch badge off. Hila walked through it again: she beeped on the way inside but didn't beep each time she stepped outside. The intercom on that post was out of order. Our dialog with the soldier was based on shouting and mimics. The whole time we heard the usual incomprehensible roaring from the other lanes. "Our" lane just made a beeping sound as a reaction to Hila's body.
The commanding soldier that had caused the passage of the Palestinians to stop, started to get angry (so did we), and demanded the Rony and I pass to the other side. We refused to leave our new volunteer and demanded that she come over to our side and perform a physical inspection. It was probably because of last week events that the soldiers felt frightened of standing in the vicinity of Palestinians. At 15:55, 23 minutes after we entered the inspection zone (!), an officer had arrived. He wouldn't dare step into the 'danger zone", meaning: "us". He had an idle conversation with Hila through the bars: "check your pockets for change... maybe it's your keys... maybe... maybe...", all those maybes that the soldiers had already been through with Hila. Even after she had removed her wedding ring she kept on beeping. Inside- always, outside- sometimes. It was 16:05 when the commanding soldier put on her ceramic vest and slightly opened the door that separates the post from the passage, she let Hila into the room and preformed a superficial physical inspection on her while apologetically saying to her:"Listen, I feel bad, I'm used to doing this to Arabs...".
The ambulances had already left. There were two police officers on a motorbike that were pulling over people to check their vehicles. A resident from the ancient city was waiting idly for some friends, he gave us his perspective on the nature of the checkpoint: "Over here, the smallest thing is the crappiest. Over here, instead of letting an ambulance drive on, a woman might have to wait two hours till she gets to the hospital".
A television crossing the checkpoint:
Five men were carrying a brand new television, wide screen; it was packet up in its original box. They came from Jerusalem and needed to pass to Ramallah. The passage which is known as "the humanitarian passage" was closed. Once they managed to draw the attention of the soldier sitting in the glass box and ask that he open the gate for them, a sound was heard for the loudspeaker: "I'm not opening that gate!"
"I've never see such crap", was the response of one of the men. The five were resourceful and together they hurried to pass the television through the narrow crack on top the metal bars.
Jaba (Leel) checkpoint:
A long line of vehicle in front of the checkpoint isn't a common sight. After all they only inspect the vehicles coming from the opposite direction. Even the soldiers (the reserve unit was replaced by regular soldiers) couldn't explain the reason for the traffic jam which stretched up to the settlement Adam.
After all, the soldiers only know, or at least they are supposed to know, what is going on in the specific spot where they are, and they don't have an overview picture. A fact which serves the system well.
The soldiers were mostly busy inspecting a driver who had been pulled over. One of the soldiers was pointing his rifle towards the source of "danger" while his colleague was searching the car and checking the driver's documents. Since nothing was found they sent the Palestinian off in his car.