Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 11.4.10, Afternoon
On our way to Jerusalem, on Route 1, we passed 6 trucks carrying tanks down to the Coast and wondered if we were preparing for war.
15:30: Qalandiya: When we reached Qalandiya the CP was pretty empty, perhaps because of the weather - the terrible sandstorm that was battering the whole country. Three passageways (2,3 and 4) were active and it took us only about 2 minutes to pass through the CP and emerge in the southern square.
In the parking lot, an ambulance from Mukassad Hospital was awaiting the arrival of a Palestinian ambulance en route from Genin carrying a 1.5 year old with heart problems, accompanied by his mother. We watched as he was transferred from one vehicle to the other - the swirling sand certainly did not contribute to his well-being.
As those two ambulances left, another pair arrived, this time with a 2-month old baby girl on oxygen due to breathing difficulties. This poor child was also transferred back-to-back through all the flying dirt. Her mother went with her, but her father, a young Palestinian man, had to say his farewells at the fence because it is well nigh impossible for
young Palestinian men to get permits to enter Israel.
15:45: From the distance we could see that about 10 vehicles were standing in line at Atarot CP.
15:55: The line at Atarot lengthened until it reached beyond the bend.
16:00: Back in the northern shed, the female soldier in the booth controlling the carousels takes a break, and locks the carousels so that within only a few minutes a long line develops despite the fact that there are almost no people in the internal passageways. Luckily, the break was short and the soldier returned after 5 minutes.
Our guest, K., had been on a visit to Nablus. She told us of a young Palestinian man who was lying unconscious and in critical condition in a hospital there after being attacked by settlers who had poured some kind of acid on his head and face. No one knows his name or who his family is in order to notify them. (Apparently the people who brought him to the hospital reported that he had been attacked by settlers.)
17:10: The CP was still quite empty. We decided to see if women are now allowed to use Passageway No. 4, or whether it is still reserved for men. I managed to walk through with no problem but the magnetometer caught Tamar and wouldn't "let go" even though she poured all her belongings into the x-ray machine. The (male) soldiers on duty told her to use Passageway No. 3 because the (female) soldiers there would be
able to examine her. The soldiers denied that their instrumentation was faulty and that the army has been unable (unwilling?) to repair it for several months. The result is that only 2 passageways are actually operational because the third one is defective.
17:20: We had decided to finish our shift when we saw another ambulance waiting in the southern square. This time it was returning an elderly woman who had broken her pelvis from Mukassad Hospital in Jerusalem to Ramallah. She also was exposed to the dirt and lack of privacy as they moved her from one ambulance to another in full view of all the passers-by.
17:30: We left for Jerusalem. On route we passed Lil/Jabba and Hizmeh CPs. Traffic was flowing at both CPs.
We left Qalandiya a little before 5 PM to return to Jerusalem. On our way we passed Lil/Jabba CP, where there was a line of 8 cars, and Hizmeh CP, where traffic was flowing.