'Atarot, Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 22.2.10, Afternoon
15.20 Qalandiya - The traffic and that southern circle was again jammed because of disruption in the route of those driving to the north while the traffic in this route as to cross the route of the traffic from Ramallah - Ar-Ram at the northern exit. This leads to terrific traffic jams which go all the way back to the south of Jerusalem and north to Ramallah. Dafke at the southern circle there were reinforcements of police. A tour of captains.
At the pedestrian crossing three lanes were working. The first lane included both men and women while the 4th only men. This was announced over the loudspeaker. The third lane was only for women ...no other choice. But all the lanes worked very slowly and especially number three which was for the women. We stood there to go through to Jerusalem but when we saw that the men's lane had ended in number 4 we went and stood there. In spite of the fact that there was no one else in the lane the soldiers again announced that the 4th lane was only for men (and only one woman who was very fast managed to go through). We phoned the Operations Room and were given a detailed explanation that the x-ray device at the 4th lane was very sensitive and caught the women who wore jewellery which slowed down the checking. And so instead of mending the machine they had decided to make the 4th lane only for men! Having no choice we returned to the third lane and again stood at the end of the line which in the meantime had not progressed at all. We came out to the southern circle at 3.50, after a wait of half an hour.
16.00 The line of cars at Atarot now reached the turning. The traffic at the southern circle was completely jammed. On our way back to the checkpoint we saw that the line of cars from Ramallah to Jerusalem stretched out for a kilometer.
16.10 At the checkpoint the soldiers kept announcing that the fourth lane was only for men. A group of about 10 tourists entered the checkpoint and stood at the first lane. Two small children selling chewing gum tried to persuade them to buy their wares and one tourist started to photograph them, Suddenly over the loudspeaker came the announcement that it was forbidden to photograph. The soldier making the announcement ( who was sitting the in the northern booth seemed to be enjoying himself as he hummed and made a whole musical production of "No Pictures" ( which we could follow by the rhythmic movement of his chair). Again and again the melody changed as if he were taking part in "A star is born" until eventually he calmed down. In the meantime the lines grew longer and nothing moved.
16. 35 The lines are still not moving. The inside lanes are full. In the northern shed 60 people wait. We phoned the Operations Room and they promised to see to an improvement of this situation. But when the 3rd and 4th lane emptied out the soldier in the booth was so busy listening to his music (as we again saw by the movement of his chair) that he did not pay attention and open the turnstiles.
16.45 The soldier lets through part of those waiting in the northern shed and now the inside lanes are full and about 40 people wait outside.
16.50 The tourists in the first lane are still waiting. It is already 40 minutes that nothing in the lane moved.
16.55 Suddenly the first lane become to move and within 5 minutes the last tourist is through.
17.00 We left Qalandiya for Jerusalem. On our way back we passed through Lil/Geva where there were 15 cars. At Hizma the traffic flowed.