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Natanya G., Ora A. and Phyllis (reporting)

The access roads to Qalandiya CP from Jerusalem were all jammed up and long lines of vehicles were just standing in place.  We decided to park on the Israeli side of the CP and walk from there, which turned out to be a smart move.  When we got closer to the CP we saw that the huge gate in the southern square had been opened and cars were being directed into A-Ram.  We asked the soldier on duty what was happening.  He told us that the traffic situation north of the CP was so bad that they were diverting traffic to relieve the pressure.  (It seemed to us that what they were doing was only increasing the traffic jam from the east, which is generally even worse than the one from Jerusalem, but the authorities hardly seem interested in really solving problems confronting Palestinians.)

When we arrived, two passageways in the CP were active and we found two men waiting in Passageway No. 5 to the DCO. They told us that they had been waiting for an hour already and that the soldiers would not allow them to enter.  We went through Passageway 4 to alert the soldiers in the “aquarium” to the fact that they were waiting.  But the soldiers explained that the x-ray machine was not working and that they could not allow people into the DCO offices without checking their parcels.  As we were talking, another soldier appeared and quickly fixed what was wrong and the two men were allowed in.

Later, we met an elderly religious woman (who turned out to be 65) with her young son (about 30 years old) who was visiting from his home in the USA.  The two wanted to go to Jerusalem to pray, but the woman’s permit was old and had expired.  We contacted the DCO representative and put them on the phone with him.  Once upon a time, many years ago now, the DCO representative could exercise his judgment and make exceptions that would allow a 65-year old woman to enter Jerusalem (the woman was now standing and crying silently from disappointment).  But I guess those times are gone forever.

We left the CP at about 5 PM.