'Anata-Shuafat, Qalandiya, Mon 9.1.12, Afternoon

Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)

 16:00:  Today we decided to see what was happening at the "glorious" new CP that brutally amputates Anata from Jerusalem, leaving that city and its residents imprisoned behind walls of cement.  On a winter afternoon, the pedestrian CP was almost deserted and only the vehicle CP showed signs of activity.  Off to one side, in the long enfenced pathway leading to the CP, we could see a small steady stream of people returning to their homes. 

As we entered the vehicle CP, one of the civilian security personnel approached to ask what we were up to and to chase us away.  We asked him some questions about the CP that he was unable to answer, so he went off to call an officer.  He came back with Elad who introduced himself as the CP Commander.  He could not understand why he should have to explain the workings of the CP to ordinary citizens, but he did so anyway.  He told us that parts of the area beyond the Wall were under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Jerusalem and that quite a number of residents bear Israeli I.D. cards.  Natanya asked him about arrangements for children who go to school in Jerusalem.  Elad proudly told us that on the other side of the CP there was a large square where buses picked up children to go to school every morning.  Palestinian personnel were on duty every morning to see that children boarded the proper buses which then crossed through the CP in a dedicated lane.  Soldiers did not board the buses to check out the children and this eliminates unnecessary contact and anxiety.  (Could we suggest that the morning MW teams check this story out to see if it is true?)  Elad insisted that we cross through the CP and see the square and the arrangements with our own eyes, so we did (and can confirm their existence).  On our way back we passed through the pedestrian CP, traversing the cellar of the CP building.  At the end of our route was a sign posted announcing this as a route for the handicapped.  This was a bit surprising in view of the fact that the route ends at the foot of a flight of stairs (which could be daunting to someone confined to a wheelchair).  In any event, both the officer (Elad) and the civilian security man were very polite and showed no hostility.

On our way out of the CP via the enfenced pathway we met and spoke with a Palestinian man who told us that he had once seen a soldier pushing an elderly woman (we probably served to remind him of the story) ungently out of the CP.  When he intervened to ask the soldier to behave more politely he was arrested and beaten by a group of B.P. soldiers who then imprisoned him and held him for 2 days at their base.

17:00:  We reached Qalandiya at dusk and found 2 passageways open with lines of about 20 people in each.  But the lines were not moving and quickly grew to 30 or 40 people.  We phoned both Headquarters and the Passageway Unit.  Only very slowly did the soldiers on duty begin to process the papers of those on line