Qalandiya

Jun-3-2003
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Curfew in Ramallah. According to the
news, some of the checkpoints are closed. We came upon a blocked
fence in Neve Yaakov and had to go around.

Ar-Ram, 16:00. border policemen are checking very few pedestrians,
but quite a few cars (a wait of about 20 minutes) going south. A
border police jeep on the West side of the street catches
Palestinians who go around the checkpoints. We did not see
detaineesinfo-icon, though.

Qalandya: Abu Sukar, just released from prison, was received there
by family and followers. It was a big happening, with lots of
cameras (including some soldiers who left their post for a minute
and took pictures), and music by local drummers of all ages. The
released prisoner was held up by the crowd and escorted through the
checkpoint. For a while, there was a lot of tension in the air.
Soldiers were running about with rifles pointed at the celebrating
crowd. We even heard a shot, but it was drowned by the music. A few
meters from the south checkpoint towards Jaba’a, the road is
blocked for vehicles in both directions and 4 soldiers are checking
pedestrians. Since last evening, and for two days to come, only
yellow plate cars can pass, pedestrians with blue ID, men over age
60, and all women and children. The version we got a little later
from the soldiers at the north checkpoint had it a little
different: men and women above 50 are allowed to pass. They seem to
be strict, but as usual there are other ways to get by, if you are
lucky. Not everyone is lucky. There were about 10 detainees,
waiting for IDs which were confiscated while they tried to
circumvent the CP. At 17:30 the IDs were returned, though some were
not claimed. Among the returned IDs there was a blue one. The
soldier explained that all confiscations were for "disturbing
the peace". About 10 soldiers are at work, but not many
pedestrians are passing. Checking is slow, as if more strict, or
perhaps more nervous. About 15 people who were denied passage hang
around waiting for a right moment to re try. Some have been trying
for days to return south to their homes. We could not help them. 2
ambulances, one in each direction, were let pass. A volunteer
soldier told us that yesterday the checkpoint was closed down at
around 13:00 and tempers flared. At 20:00, it was reopened, letting
women, old people and blue IDs pass. The commander did not like the
sight of us talking with the volunteer: We were disturbing the work
and endangering the soldiers. He was belligerent, and said he was
not interested in the arrangements and agreements we have worked
out with the DCO. He also mentioned the tension caused by the
release of prisoners.