Bir Nabala, Qalandiya, Sun 4.11.07, Afternoon
14:45 Ar-Ram: There were no Palestinians at the CP, on foot or in vehicles. The gate in the Wall was closed and we detoured through the back streets of Ar-Ram.
15:00 Qalandiya: Two pedestrian passages were operating with only a few people in each. A young woman with a small child, who had waited for 10 minutes in one passageway without making any progress, saw that the line in Passageway No. 3 was moving faster. When she tried her luck in the second line, the PA system suddenly announced that Passageway No. 4 was open and she rushed back with a bunch of other people only to find herself in line again behind the more agile. So she tried her luck again in Passageway No. 3. Although the woman tried several times to speed her passage there was nothing she could do. That's the way it is at the CP. In the end she and the child passed and went their way.
Tamar, Lizi and Dorit used the DCO passageway and visited the Post Office. Crowding at the DCO office appears to have declined since opening of a DCO office in A-Ram. Apparently, many people prefer the service there to having to come to Qalandiya.
15:30: I went through Passageway 3 to see what was happening in the vehicle CP. The lines were not long and passage appeared to be relatively quick. From a distance I could see that traffic through the New A-Ram CP (just before the entrance to Atarot Industrial Park) was flowing slowly.
16:00: We continued on to Bir Nabala CP. This week we managed to get through in spite of the roadwork in progress between Kufr Aqeb and Semiramis. There were 10 cars in line ahead of us and we timed passage at 5 minutes. We continued on to Kfar Qalandiya and saw that the gate to Jerusalem was still locked and the post opposite it was unmanned. We observed the New A-Ram CP from this angle and saw that although traffic was quite heavy it continued to flow slowly.
17:00: We returned to observe the CP at Bir Nabala. On average, while we were there, 10 cars waited in line 10 minutes to pass. Suddenly a jeep with four soldiers drove up and stopped near us. The highest ranking soldier informed us that his senior officer wanted us to leave the CP because our presence was annoying the soldiers and interfering with their work. We, of course, declined the request.
At 17:05 a police car with two policemen drove up and parked near us. One policeman got out and, after putting on a ceramic vest, began to check the papers of vehicles traveling from Bir Nabala to Ramallah. After checking the papers of 2 or 3 drivers, creating a line of some 10 vehicles, he got back into the car and drove off.
After twenty minutes the assistant commander of the company manning the Bir Nabala CP arrived and politely explained what he wanted and we responded, also very politely, that we were performing our duty and were not doing anything illegal, that we were not initiating contract with the soldiers and certainly were not bothering them. We parted on friendly terms (after Tamar gave Asst. Company Commander Jonathan her cell-phone number).
17:45: On returning to Qalandiya we found quite a large traffic jam at the CP entrance. The pedestrian passages, on the other hand, were empty and it was unclear if any of them were operating at all. All of a sudden the deafening wail of a siren broke out through the CP, armed people ran around and the vehicle passages were closed. This was an exercise that, thankfully, lasted only a short time. As we drove off we saw that all the lights had gone out but we continued on our way to LIL CP where the traffic to Ramallah was flowing slowly.