Ar-Ram, Atarot, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 21.9.08, Afternoon
A-Ram CP: There was no activity at the checkpoint.
The line of vehicles was very long but the traffic jam did not appear
to have been caused by the soldiers who were standing aside and not
interfering. We did not stop because we were hurrying to a meeting
Two passageways were operating and there was a line in each. However,
there was no line in the northern shed because the soldier on duty was
paying attention to what was going on and opened the carousel each time
the lines inside the CP shortened.
Just as we arrived a worried-looking
young man approached us. He told us that his wife (who holds the
blue I.D. card of a Jerusalem resident) had taken two young cousins,
Palestinians residing in France, on a shopping spree to the Pisgat Zeev
Shopping Center in Jerusalem without bringing their passports, I.D.
cards or permits. The three had been stopped on their way to the
shopping center at 10 AM at the Hizmeh CP and the 2 young girls, Rosanne
(14) and Malak (15), had been detained. The driver was freed and
sent on her way. When we reached Qalandiya at 4 PM the family
was quite hysterical, not knowing where the girls were and what was
happening to them. We called the police and were told to contact
the police station at Shu'afat. The people there told us that
the girls were in their custody and would shortly be returned to Qalandiya.
And that's what happened.
16:25: Only one passageway is working
(No. 2). The soldiers have apparently taken a coffee break.
There are now 20 people waiting on line in the northern shed to get
into the CP.
Another man approaches us and tells us
that his little brother, who sells bottled drinks at the entrance to
the CP, had been arrested two hours earlier by a policeman accompanied
by two bodyguards. The family had been informed by telephone and
told to bring the child's documents to the Qalandiya CP. The man
had no idea what he was supposed to do and where he was supposed to
deliver the documents. We phoned several policemen whose numbers
we had been given but none of them answered the phone, so we called
their commander, David A', who told us authoritatively that
the child had been released already and that the police had no idea
where he had gone. The brother was still very worried, so we attempted
further inquiries with a phone call to Qalandiya Headquarters where
we spoke with Alex who confirmed that the child was in their custody
(contrary to what Abuhazeira had said). He instructed the brother
to enter the CP passageway and ask the soldiers on duty to call him
Meanwhile a man pushing a baby carriage
was trying to enter the CP on his way to Jerusalem. The soldier
on duty at the northern entrance tried, without success, to find a way
to open the "Humanitarian Gate". Finally the man took
the baby out of the carriage and carried it through the carousel.
A bit later a disabled man on crutches
tried to enter the CP. Once again we witnessed an ineffectual
attempt to open the "Gate". This time there was a female
soldier on duty who called headquarters to request that they send someone
to open the "Gate" but she was told that headquarters was
too busy and understaffed to deal with such problems. After waiting
10 or 15 minutes, someone suggested that the man try to pass the CP
by boarding a bus in the vehicle CP. We assume that he succeeded
because we didn't see him again.
16:40: Only one passageway is working
at the CP and the line there is very long. Another 40 people are
waiting on line at the northern CP entrance. We called the hotline
to complain and another passageway was opened after several minutes.
However, this passageway was quickly closed again when the soldiers
discovered there were technical problems with the X-ray machine.
We called Alex at headquarters to ask him to help and he replied that
they were working on the problem. We suggested that he open one
of the other passageways, No. 4 or No. 1 for example, while they were
fixing their equipment.
16:50: Passageway 4 was opened
relieving some of the congestion in the northern shed. But people
will soon be finishing work and the end of the daily fast is approaching,
and the flow of people trying to pass the CP on their way to Jerusalem
is getting stronger and stronger.
Suddenly "Policeman Saul" arrives
to visit the northern CP entrance. We talked to him about the
way the CP was operating and the long wait on lines for people who were
fasting in Ramadan. We asked him how Jewish people would feel
if they were forced to wait on line on their way home from synagogue
after their Yom Kippur fast. "Policeman Saul" made light
of Palestinian suffering and ended the conversation by saying that he
had wasted his entire "monthly quota of niceties" talking
17:00: There are now 50 men, women
and children on line in the northern shed waiting to enter the CP.
17:10: The lines continue to lengthen.
We called Alex once again. He told us that he did not have enough
soldiers to open more lines. We left Qalandiya and went to Bir
Nabala where we observed once again that this CP has been removed.
18:00 Lil CP: Traffic was