Givat Zeev, Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 19.7.10, Afternoon
15:30, Givat Ze'ev CP: A thin but steady flow of laborers were returning from their jobs "inside" and passing through the CP which looked prostrate in the afternoon heat. We stopped several groups to ask about conditions in the morning when many workers come at the same time. Again and again people reported that the CP had improved and that they waited only ten or fifteen minutes. One man, a resident of El Gib, told us that he had a permit for all of Israel, except for Givat Ze'ev. As a result, he had to enter Israel every morning via Qalandiya (although he returned home every afternoon via G.Z.) - absurdities of the Occupation.
A middle aged man was sitting on the curb, leaning his back against a traffic sign in the burning sun. He told us there were dogs at the CP. (You can't actually see the dogs, but when I walked closer to the CP they began to bark wildly and I could hear them clearly.) Our man told us that in the mornings, the dogs bark at the children passing through the CP on their way to school, causing some of them to get very frightened. The man told us that he lives in Nebi Samuel but bears a Palestinian ID (so he is an "illegal" in his own home so to speak) and raises vegetables on several plots of land that he owns. Last week, after months of hard work, a flock of deer overran one of his plots and destroyed his whole crop of tomatoes which he had been counting on to support his family for a good few months. He tried to demand compensation from the government office responsible for settling flocks of deer in the valleys surrounding Jerusalem, but there was no one who would listen. The police refused to record his complaint. He isn't allowed to fence his plots. What can he do?
We took the man home to Nebi Samuel to see for ourselves (every word was true), and there we met a young man who told us that the authorities had come to the village one month ago and made a list of residents who were at home at the time. Two families who were not home at the time of the visit were not included in the list and are now unable to reach their homes legally. Can anyone offer advice as to how to correct the problem and get these people into the list?
17:00, Qalandiya CP: On our way to Qalandiya, we saw a BP Patrol Car stationed as a flying CP at the same spot where the Atarot CP used to be. We hope this is not a sign of its renewal.
When we reached Qalandiya we found two active passageways. Passageway 1 was for Palestinians with green (PA) ID cards - it was almost empty. Passageway 4 was for Jerusalem residents, with blue ID's, and was full of people waiting in the heavy heat. I went to see if there wasn't another active passageway and, to my surprise, discovered a female soldier sitting in the "aquarium" in Passageway 3 which was completely empty. I called to attract her attention and she opened the carousel. When I entered and stood before the window, I saw that there were two soldiers on duty, one of them a sergeant. When the sergeant finished munching on her bag of potato chips, I presented my papers and then asked her to announce over the PA system that this line was open as well. She told me to go and announce it myself. I felt a bit peculiar but I went over to the bars and shouted to the people waiting in Passageway 4 to come and stand in line. A large number immediately joined the new line. But the soldier still didn't open the gate. When I asked her what she was waiting for she said, "for you to leave." So I did and she actually did open the carousel. (I thought she was very hostile and obnoxious.)
I called headquarters and asked them to make an announcement that the passageway was open over the PA system. Later, when I got back to the northern shed, I asked the female soldier on duty in the post there to do the same, and she did so.
On my way back to the northern shed, I discovered that the biometric machnes in the passageway from Jerusalem north to Ramallah were working once again. About 50 laborers on their way home had to wait about 10 minutes by the carousel in order to leave Jerusalem and they complained about the delay in returning home after a long and tiring day's work. They told me that the machines had been working since Sunday (18/7/10) and that everyone who entered Israel from Qalandiya was now required to return home the same way. Inside the passageway, 20 laborers were all trying to reach the 3 active machines at once.
We left Qalandiya at about 17:30. On our way back to Jerusalem we passed through Lil/Jabba and Hizmeh CPs. Traffic was flowing at both.