7:00am: We drove on Begin highway to
Camp Ofer. This is also the Bitunia checkpoint. 2 Palestinian lorry
drivers were waiting to pass -- the checkpoint only opens at
8.00am. Pedestrians are not allowed to use this route. An army jeep
saw us, raced up to say we are endangering our lives; he earnestly
told us that we should have arranged for an army escort. The young
officer was very bewildered at our smiling reply that we are not in
any danger, but we thanked him for his concern.
From Betunia we drove through the industrial area of Atarot to the
Qalandya checkpoint. Pedestrians were passing quickly and no queue
was formed. There was a fairly short line of cars (took about 20
minutes for a car to pass). A young teacher told us that all year
he was allowed to pass to his school in Ar-Ram, but not today
(vocational schools like his are still on).
We took a taxi to the Ein Arik barrier -- two parallel mounds of
earth and rocks, about 20 metres apart, blocked the road. For
vehicles the way was inaccessible, while pedestrians had to
scramble over the rocks. The army must save money this way...