Qalandiya, Thu 1.7.10, Afternoon
Ramot road, Qalandiya 14.30 - 17.00
Some checkpoints have actually been removed!
We drove along the Ramot road and noticed that the Ramot checkpoint, we have known for years, is deserted. Indeed there is no more need for it since the crooked way to Bir naballa does not serve anyone ever since the sunken road had bee built, and now Beit Iksa has also been cut off. The road to the village is blocked by some white plastic blocks and further on a locked gate had been set up across the road. It is strange since only a few months ago it was announced that Beit Iksa is Israeli territory.
We drove on and on glancing towards the Givaat Zeev CP we noticed that there were no people crossing in any direction.
Also the CP at the left turn towards the Atarot industrial does not exist any more and the traffic goes along undisturbed.
Qalandia, on the other hand carries on as usual. When we entered the bleak waiting hall we noticed that only one 'sleeve' was functioning and a long line had formed in front of it. After a while a second sleeve was opened. We encountered a friendly and smiling tea vendor who wanted to invite us to have some of his goods and also enquired us about our colleagues who usually come to this checkpoint. Two or three people complained about the hardships they encounter in the mornings. We entered the line o9f those trying to get into Jerusalem and asked our selves how they endure the daily long waits in the recent heavy heat. We started a conversation with a young man, about thirty years old who lives in Katana and whose wife (bearing an Israeli ID) and children live in Beit Hanina. Only once in three months is he allowed to stay with his family for a week. She could, of course, move to Katana but would lose all her rights including her social security. He also complained about the hardships he encounters in the mornings; He has to leave at 4 am in order to be on time and he some times has to stand for two hours in the entering queue. In order to get from Katana to Beit Hanina he has to go via Bidu, then drive on the sunken road to Bir Naballa and from there on the winding and long road to Qalandiya.
While we were Queuing we heard some loud voices from the other side of the turning door, it turned out that a woman bought some kitchen knives in Ramalla and they were detected in her bag. The queue was halted for about twenty minutes and the soldiers sent her back from where she came. We stood in line over forty minutes. On the way out we showed our IDs to the three Ethiopian girl soldiers who were grinning on the other side of the heavy protected glass windows.