Ar-Ram, Qalandiya, Rafat (Bir Nabala), Sun 3.8.08, Afternoon
A-Ram CP: No Palestinians at the checkpoint.
From A-Ram we drove to Qalandiya via
Beit Hanina, on the "Jerusalem" side of the Wall. On
the way we met up with a representative of Elbit, a contractor whose
team of Palestinian workers were installing rolls of barbed wire atop
the Wall and a row of electronic sensors just below them that connect
up to plasmas in the BP control room and facilitate of the exact location
of any attempt to scale the Wall.
We stopped at Atarot CP to talk to the soldiers. Traffic flowed
Qalandiya: We met up with Musa from Katanah who gave us DVD
evidence of the damage caused to his village's fields by the flow of
sewage from the hilltop settlement of Har Adar.
15:55: At the northern entrance
to Qalandiya, a woman with a baby carriage (in which a baby was sleeping)
stood before the narrowed passageway and wondered how she would manage
to get through the passage with the carriage. We telephoned headquarters
to request assistance and were told that someone would be sent to open
the "Humanitarian Gate" but that it would take 15 minutes.
Meanwhile the woman with the carriage joined the crowd in the passage
and we followed along. When she reached the carousel she took
the infant out and folded the carriage and we helped manipulate it through
the carousel. And then she stood in the crowd of 25 people waiting
in Passageway No. 4 - only one passageway was open. The soldier
who was supposed to open the Humanitarian Gate had still not appeared.
The baby began to cry and the people waiting on line took pity on the
woman with the baby and moved her to the head of the line and helped
her through the next carousel. Which makes us wonder, whom does
the "Humanitarian Gate" serve? Who controls it and when
is it opened?
Only one passageway is working (with
about 25 people waiting to get in) and a long line of more than 40 people
wends its way around the northern shed before the carousels at the entrance
to the CP.
16:15: Another passageway
16:20: Qalandiya bus-stop
on the Jersalem side: an ambulance arrives from Jerusalem to pick
up a woman suffering from a heart attack due to arrive from Tul Karem.
The Palestinian ambulance delivering the woman passes through the CP
in 3 minutes and parks beside the other ambulance. The patient
is disconnected from the equipment in the Palestinian ambulance and
transferred in a stretcher to the Jerusalem ambulance. She looks
like she is in bad shape (quite of bunch of onlookers has gathered around
to see what is happening). And then it takes another few precious
minutes before the woman is reconnected to the new equipment, minutes
that may mean the difference between life and death.
16:30: The ambulance departs
from the bus-stop for Muqassad hospital, its sirens sounding (a pretty
From afar we can see that the line at
Atarot has gotten very long. In the northern square, at the entrance
to Qalandiya's vehicle CP, we counted more than 8 busses waiting to
enter the CP. Drivers that had already arrived told us that they
had waited 20 minutes just to get to the CP. Their passengers,
who had had to pass through the CP on foot, were awaiting arrival of
the busses in order to continue their trip.
16:34: Suddenly an invisible
hand "opened the gates" and a line of busses began to make
its way to the CP.
16:45: Back to the pedestrian
CP. Once again only one passageway is working, but at this point
there is no back-up line in the northern shed. We leave Qalandiya
and go to Rafat.
17:10 Rafat: The soldiers
on duty are happy to see us, apparently because we provide some entertainment.
One of them tells us that his officers are talking about removal of
the Rafat CP (which only serves to bother Palestinians making their
way between Bir Nabala and Ramallah). We shall see.
17:30 Rafat: Five
vehicles are waiting in line.
- 18:10 Lil: The soldiers are not interfering with the traffic,
only the terrible bumps in the road are slowing things down.