'Atara, Qalandiya, Sun 17.4.11, Afternoon
A new decree had been issued on January 2011: it prohibits the employment of Palestinians with family union permits in Israel.
Where is the full book of decrees and who holds it?- Who is the mastermind that comes up with them?
A choir roared at us in a mixture of Arabic, English and Hebrew as we dared approach the fence that separates the parking lot from the checkpoint. The voices of the security guards backed that of the solider in the tower, they waved their weapons at us in effort to make it clearer, making sure that we wouldn't see them or their actions: "Go back… go back… Ruh Lawara… Asur La'amod Po… Lo Laga'at Bagader…." They silenced only after someone yelled: "whore!"
We had noticed for the first time a women employee of the privet security guards agency.
Tens of people were cramped together in and outside the checkpoint, despite the fact that three lanes were open and the rush hour hadn't yet begun. From the slow pace in which the soldiers worked it was evident that they were "taking their time". The voices from the loud speakers that were heard inside the checkpoint were uttered in an incomprehensible language.
After standing in line for 50 minutes, during which no one entered the inspection area for some time, the people in front of us started running towards a nearby lane and we followed them: "that one is broken", we were told. After just 15 minutes of standing in the cramped and dense line of agitated people, they were bitter but accepted the verdict, after only sixty five minutes (!), we reached the other side of the checkpoint- the side of Jerusalem.
"Do you pass here every day?", Martin asked the person standing next to him in horror- "Twice a day", the person replied.
Atara/Bir Zait checkpoint:
With the magic words of the army captains this checkpoint had been removed over two years ago, however it is still alive and kicking, it exists, it's manned and armed and harassing, it appears that it even shoots from time to time. The bullet casings scattered on the ground were evidence of this, as well as the stun grenades and tear gas grenades that were stored inside a box that said: "Alfa Appliances" (=appliances for riot control).
The officer sitting at the window of the post tried to stop us: "You must nnot be here… you can't park here…. Get in the car and drive on!", once this did work he implemented the fear strategy: "It's very dangerous for you, i won't be responsible for your safety if anything happens…"