Qalandiya

May-23-2003
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Ar-Ram: We first went down to the
"unofficial" checkpoint down by the field on the street
parallel to the main road. This time only one young woman was
waiting for her I.D. to be returned, which happened shortly after
we arrived. A border policeman jokingly "complained"
about the scarcity of our visits to this particular checkpoint.
Just two weeks ago, we found an awful lot to be done there.At the
main checkpoint it was very quiet, so that we went straight on to
Qalandya.

Qalandya

An altogether awful experience. The heat seemed to drive everybody
(including us) out of their minds. A particularly abusive woman
soldier rudely yelled at a man to get back to his place in the car
line, while pointing her gun at him. She also threatened someone
that if he was going to show up again, she'd beat him up. One woman
had to leave her car and undergo a body search at the little hut,
which, we were told, was routine rather than a reaction to a
specific warning. A man caught in the quarry was brought to the
checkpoint with his hands up behind his neck, like a dangerous
criminal. A Reuters film team and an independent camerainfo-icon man (all
Palestinians) who wanted to show the effects of the closureinfo-icon on a
Friday were forbidden to film the checkpoint, one of the reasons
being that this would constitute "incitement". A film was
temporarily confiscated but returned during our shift. People
waiting to go down South were rudely told line up in an orderly
queue.

A Palestinian woman with a US-passport was not allowed to go to the
consulate in Jerusalem, on grounds that she came in via Jordan and
therefore had no Israeli visa.

An old woman who went to see a doctor just North of the checkpoint
was initially not allowed to return to her home just South of the
checkpoint. When we tried to intervene on her behalf, a young woman
soldier remarked that there is a big sign saying that people could
get into Area A but not out. Told by us that there are actually
people who do not know how to read and that it's easily possible to
simply miss the sign, she triumphantly said, "but it's also
written in English". In the end, she did allow her to talk,
with the help of a volunteer interpreter, to an officer, who
actually let her pass.