'Atarot, Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 14.12.09, Afternoon

Observers: 
Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)
14/12/2009
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Afternoon

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.