Ar-Ram, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 16.11.08, Afternoon

Itit S', Nur B-O (taking photos), Tamar F' (reporting and taking photos)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?
Ar-Ram checkpoint

There were 18 vehicles waiting
at the exit of the checkpoint.

The constructions at Dayat
El Barid neighborhood are being done fast, at the end of it this neighborhood
with be separated from Ar-Ram, and become an enclave. The residents
are now just "getting used to it" (an expression I once heard
from one of the commanders of the checkpoint about the new procedures
that will take place).

- We drove along the wall from
the Palestinian side of it. Irit who hadn't been there for a while and
Nur, who hasn't even been there before, were amazed and outraged.

We headed on to the village
Qalandia to see if the court decision regarding the opening of the village
to the direction of Atarot has changed anything (a couple of months
ago it had taken favor of the village in its decision).

The way leading to the village
is by the checkpoint, a distance that shouldn't take along time to cross,
but because of the wall you must now drive 5 km of bad roads.

The road to the village led
us to the conclusion that the occupation has also changed the most basic
laws of geometrics, and can sometimes find more then one line straight
line passing through two dots.

We weren't surprised to find
out that nothing has changed and that the gate to the village remained

Qalandia checkpoint:

Before entering the checkpoint
we went along a path by the wall. New graffitis were on the walls, we
had never seen them before.

-Perhaps this is the Palestinians
only way to express themselves, their feelings and their protest regarding
their reality, their feelings towards the occupier and the outcry that
isn't heard and echoes though the world.

It's important to document
and spread these testimonies.

16:20- At the entrance to the
checkpoint we stop and chatted with the coffee salesman  who we
know, he told us about the difficulty that doctors are now confronted
with, each morning since a new regulation had been decided on, according
to which the entrance to Jerusalem is only permitted through Qalandia.
Mahmud told us that doctor and medical employees have to wait together
with lots of other people for their turn to pass, as of very early in
the morning. On that say (Sunday) the situation was especially hard
since there were 14 buss filled with Christian celebrators who were
heading to Lod.

In spite of the fact that there
were three open lanes the lines didn't move. Every couple of minutes
we were informed through the loudspeaker that one of the lanes had closed
and that they must move to a different lane: Those standing at the end
of the line were no at the beginning and those at the beginning were
now the last ones. And before anyone passed there was another notification:
this lane will now also close, and they all had to move to a different
lane. People ran about in that mouse trap from one lane to the other
and then back again.

16:50- A new announcement was
made: those with blue IDs were told to move to lane number 5, so people
started running again and the line began at it ending, but those who
had managed to make it and stand before the soldier at the counter was
told he had to go back: "Only those without bags can pass here",
the soldier yelled at them. A middle aged man who was in a hurry to
get to his work place at the American consulship had some cards in his
hands, a cell phone and his keys home, he was sent back because of his
phone and keys since the x-ray machine wasn't working and the metal
detector kept bipping. When he got back to lane number 4 he was rebuked,
after all he had a blue ID: "Only people with IDs from the occupied
territories can pass here!" and he was sent back again. He passed
this process four times, waiting in line, receiving a refusal and going
back again.

Irit managed to have a word
with the commander, Abuhatzera, who referred us to his deputy, Eli,
who said he was looking into it. Mahadi, the commander of the passage
until was also looking into it, and the person from the operation room
of the area who answered our call, she promised that a DCL representative
would soon arrive there (he didn't arrive). Nur manage miraculously
to talk to the soldier at the front counter, he told her that all of
this was a result of the fact that they were waiting for a visit from
the regiment commander, but Mahadi said that it all happened because
their computers were down…

  • The actual reason
    was meaningless, to the Palestinians and to us. We could see what the
    situation was. This all went on from more then an hour, people were
    asking (as were we): "How could a person with a blue ID and
    a bag pass?"
    (catch 22)

    While running from one
    lane to the other people kept saying to us: "isn't this abuse?
    Is this any way to treat a human being? – we were left speechless.

One of the things that amazed
us was that the Palestinians managed to maintain their sense of humor
in spit of their despair and anger. As the Jews were while at the Diaspora,
just like my grandfather told me that humor was a remedy for the sold
and its fuel as well. How things change.

17:30- It was as if a divine
creature worked its magic and the pressure was dissolved, only few were
left in line.

We once again were puzzled
about the categorization of the place as a "border passage".

- Israel that boasts itself
for being a progressive country and sees itself as a worthy society
among western world countries, has created this "boarder passage"
which is a unique phenomenon even in third world coutries. 

Leel/ Geva checkpoint

18:15- The road was fixed,
according to the soldiers they fixed it because the bad road caused
the traffic to slow. But a couple of months ago that was exactly the
reason they gave us for why they had damaged the road. We didn't try
to find the sense in the army's answers or actions.

On the other side of the checkpoint,
from east to west was a large ridge on the road, about 15 meters before
the checkpoint.