Qalandiya

Observers: 
Natanya G., Ora Ardon
24/11/2014
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Afternoon

At the checkpoint of Qalandiya   the soldiers had barricaded the usual entrance   and were sending people through another gate.  But when I said I needed to get to the parking lot and I was from Machsom Watch he opened and let me through telling me to just drive slowly as the road was slippery.

When we got there it was pretty empty except for a couple with someone in  a wheelchair. They said the soldier in the aquarium had phoned and someone would come with a key to let them through the humanitarian gate and in about 10 minutes we saw them going through and the other gate at the window also was opened immediately. he did

But going back was a different story. It was dusk already and had been a very rainy day. It took us ages even to get to the first roundabout but I did not think too much of that because this does happen but then afterwards when we got on the road to A-Ram the traffic hardly moved. I listened to the news and nothing was said.  I eventually despaired. There was shooting, not that much, but we were sitting behind a lorry  containing petrol and I had this horrible thought that if any form of fire or shot hit it…..you can imagine. I could hear shots or grenades and see the fire cracker across the road and on the left hand side clouds of gas.

We sat for over 2 hours. I t was nerve wracking as everyone was trying to push in from both sides. We were further held up by two accidents of cars which had tried to get ahead of one another.  Eventually  I had the belated sense to phone Hanna Barag who said that there had been a terrorist attack at Hizme which was the direction that we were heading in and that I should go back to Qalandiya. Which is what I did but in the rain and talk and also there the congestion of traffic I did not take the right road. I stopped at a garage where the young attendant started to explain to us and then said about a man standing there, “Take him. You do not have to be afraid. He is a doctor.” He directed us to the checkpoint to Jerusalem and there again problems. The soldiers were polite but insisted on taking our IDs to check. The doctor by the way works in Tel Hashomer hospital and has a permit to go through. The soldiers  directed my car on to the pavement saying they had to check which I do not accept as they also knew that we were from Machsom Watch. But as I said they were polite and I don’t see the point of getting into arguments.

Then one of these revolting security guards came from another direction with two soldiers. The two soldiers were already walking past when he started shouting at me that I was illegally there and where was my “waiver”( which excludes the army from any responsibility towards you. But this is only necessary in Area A.) I said I had no necessity for it as I was entitled to be there. It just shows though the hold that these security have over the younger soldiers. He kept shouting and stammering. Then he walked off saying loudly to the  other two, “We will arrest them.”  I thought to myself you just go ahead and do that.

When Ora demanded to speak to the captain  the mercentary jeered at her saying, “We are all captains here.”  But a few minutes later a very polite soldier came with our IDs, spoke very pleasantly to Ora and also had a chat in Arabic with the doctor and directed me to get  off  the pavement and wished us a good trip home.

I walked into the house at 8.30.