Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 14.6.10, Afternoon
We went first to check out "Givat Ze'ev CP" following the complaints we heard from Samir, a taxi driver we met at Qalandiya 2 weeks ago. At the neighboring gas station we met 3 workers who pass through the CP everyday. Everyone of them told of long hours spent in the lines at the CP. After leaving them, we continued to the CP where we met several workers returning from their day's work who complained that they had waited for hours to cross the CP in the morning. Some mentioned a three hour wait and others spoke of four hours. We followed the workers through the CP. At 3:30 PM there was no problem crossing through the CP and we soon found ourselves on the other side of the Wall. Now, in order to return to Israel we had to get through the CP for real. We entered a narrow fenced passageway (as in Qalandiya, but here there is only one such passageway) which leads to a prefab structure occupied by one lone soldier sitting behind an "environment-proof" window, so isolated that he was barely aware of our presence even when we called to him. The soldier controls the entrance to an examination space where there is a table on which to place packages that need to be inspected while the owner of the packages passes through a magnetometer. There is no X-ray machine to examine the contents of the packages. All of the above is just to point out that this CP is not capable of efficiently processing the hundreds of people who must pass here on their way to work every morning. And this CP is supposed to serve workers from the villages of El Gib, Beit Iksa, Bir Nabala, Katana, Bidu, etc., etc.....
(Before entering the examination space, we asked the commander of the CP what he thought about how the CP operated. He was sitting comfortably in his command post at the vehicle CP. He shouted to us from there that, while there had been some problems in the first few days of operations two weeks ago, now the CP was working well and that passage in the morning was continuous and without delays. Two soldiers standing at his side smiled complicitly in agreement.)
In short, the situation looks desperate and it is imperative that the morning shifts to Qalandiya should also check on conditions at Givat Ze'ev. (Ask Phyllis for driving instructions.)
From Givat Ze'ev, we drove to Betunia CP near Ofer because one worker told us that a new CP was operating there as well. This was not true. Betunia serves only trucks carrying goods and there is no passage there for private vehicles or pedestrian traffic.
We reached Qalandiya at 4:30. There were no lines in the northern shed, the carousel was open and the three active internal passageways were half empty. Both men and women were standing in line in passageway 4 and all were passing without a problem. This passageway appears for some unknown reason to operate more efficiently than the other ones. When we got close to the carousel, a boy of 15-16 was refused passage on the strength of his birth certificate (which is the valid document for children of this age). The boy was only slightly annoyed and went to stand in line at another passageway where he was allowed through with the same document a few minutes later.
Suddenly, at 4:45 PM, the soldiers in passageway 4 decided that this passageway would serve men only and announced over the PA system that the women waiting in line must leave. At the same time we found out that Passageway 1 was serving only Palestinians with Palestinian Authority ID cards. So passageway 2 became the only route for women, but not for women only. For some reason, this passageway is very slow and inefficient so that large numbers of women wait there even though passageway 4 is completely empty. Why are the women punished this way?
We left Qalandiya at about 5 PM. There were no lines of traffic at Lil/Jabba CP nor at Hizme .