Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya
We arrived at Qalandiya a little after 4 PM after 20 minutes of nerve-racking navigation through the horrible traffic jam in the southern square. The CP was operating as usual, with a weak but steady stream of people coming to enter Jerusalem from Ramallah. Two passageways were active almost all the time we were at the CP, and when the line in Passageway 1 grew long the soldier on duty at the CP entrance in the northern shed would announce that Passageway 4 was open as well. The lines were as long as 10 people in each passageway but they moved along fairly swiftly.
Closure of the northern parking lot (which has been blocked off since Ramadan) seems to us to be exacerbating traffic problems in the vicinity of the CP. Vehicles are parked everywhere including on traffic islands and roundabouts, narrowing lanes and impeding the flow of traffic. Long lines of cars extend in all directions – in the approaches to Qalandiya from Ramallah and A-Ram as well as cars traveling from Route 60 to Ramallah that have no intention of going to Qalandiya but have no choice other than to join the jam and crawl on to their destination (there being no alternative road). Sometimes the authorities relieve the traffic pressure in the southern square by opening the “Great Gate” in the Wall allowing direct entry to A-Ram. It’s unfortunate that this policy is not followed more frequently. The traffic problems in the area north of the CP will require a more radical solution.
On our way back to Jerusalem we saw that soldiers were once again posted at the Lil/Jabba CP (where we haven’t seen them for months). But they were not interfering with the traffic which was flowing freely.