Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 23.11.09, Afternoon
16:00: We passed by Atarot CP on our way from Beit Hanina to Qalandiya. We saw a long line of cars that reached at least as far as the turn in the road, 400 yards. But we were hurrying to Qalandiya and didn't stop to investigate.
16:15 - Qalandiya: The three active passageways (2, 4 and 5) were completely full and there was a line of 20 people in the pen in the northern shed. We phoned CP Headquarters to draw their attention to what was going on and spoke with a female soldier, Li'at, who promised to help. Meanwhile the soldier in the post adjacent to the shed continued to let people into the CP, 5 at a time. We got on line in the shed and entered the CP. The people in the passageways reported that they had been waiting between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on whom we asked. (One woman gave up in disgust and left the CP reporting angrily that she had waited in line for an hour.) The soldiers in the passageways were working very slowly, letting the Palestinians into the checking area one by one (in Passageway 2) or two at a time (in Passageway 4). We phoned Li'at again and she said the soldiers were working slowly because the computers had crashed and they were trying to get them up again.
16:30: We were approached by a young fellow accompanying a couple from Gaza. The woman had undergone a back operation in Jordan and she and her husband were on their way home to Gaza. The woman was in terrible pain and could hardly stand up. None of them knew what to do in order to get a permit to go to Gaza. No one answered the phone in the DCO offices so once again we phoned CP Headquarters and asked to speak with the DCO representative. Li'at asked for the name and ID number of the woman and then told us that they were already preparing her permit and would give it to her as soon as it was ready. At 16:50 the DCO representative called the woman to Passageway 5 and handed her the permit, but there wasn't one for her husband. When he understood the necessity of a permit for her husband, he promised to prepare one immediately and asked the couple to wait a little longer.
16:50: The lines in the passageways got a bit shorter but there was still a line in the northern shed. At any rate, the waiting time got shorter as well.
17:15: The DCO representative handed the husband his permit and the couple left for Gaza in a cab.
17:35: We got in line in the northern shed. It took us 20 minutes to pass through the CP and out the Jerusalem side. In the vehicle CP we could see that the line at Atarot was still very long, reaching as far as the horizon. Traffic at Qalandiya was also quite heavy, especially going north towards Ramallah, but it was still flowing.
18:00: Passing back through the CP we saw that two passageways were operating.
We left to return to Jerusalem via Lil/Jabba CP, where traffic was flowing, and Hizmeh CP where cars were backed up along the road for about 300 meters.