'Atara, 'Atarot, Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 8.12.08, Afternoon
very few people on the move. At Atara, and Qalandiya as well,
the traffic was mainly of people celebrating the Id el-Adha holiday,
on their way to visit members of their families. At Atara we saw
car loads of parents and happy children. At Qalandiya we met parents
and children waiting on the lines to enter Jerusalem to visit their
We drove to Qalandiya via Atarot CP. At this hour there was very
little traffic at either CP.
14:50 Atara: The
soldiers standing in the CP were not interfering with the traffic which
was flowing freely in all directions. There were no lines at all.
Two passageways were operating and there were no lines.
16:00: A family from Abu
Dis, two parents in their fifties with proper permits accompanied by
their 12-year old daughter, is trying to cross the CP to visit their
other daughter and grandchildren in Jerusalem. The female soldier
in Passageway No. 4 yells at them (and everyone in the CP can hear the
offensive shouting over the PA system) that the 12-year old's birth
certificate is no good because it's only a photocopy. She shouts
that the parents can go through but not their daughter and then orders
them to leave the CP. We couldn't understand what the problem
was – all the children present photocopies of their birth certificates,
no one uses an original. We phoned the DCO and told a soldier
on duty, Sagi, what had happened. He promised to look into it.
After a few minutes he returned our call and explained that the problem
was not the photocopy but that the birth certificate was Palestinian
and therefore not acceptable. A Palestinian child must present
a permit just like an adult (and not like the child of parents with
blue ID's). No one was willing to take responsibility and show
some flexibility, taking into account the fact that this was simply
a family celebrating the holiday. We were unable to help.
Two passageways were still operating
with only a few people on line but the wait was quite long as the soldiers
were not very efficient. Saul the Policeman arrived at the control
room between passageways 4 and 5. With him present, it was clear
that everyone would be working to the book – no chance for flexibility.
16:45: The soldiers announced
over the PA system that passageway 5 was serving holders of blue ID's
only (i.e. Jerusalem residents and citizens of Israel).
The soldiers continually shout instructions
over the PA system to those waiting on line. Their shouts are
literally painful to the ears. It's getting dark and much much
colder. Greetings from Israel on the occasion of the Id el Adha
17:00: There are only a
few people in the CP and the lines are short. We finish our shift
and head back to Jerusalem. On our way we passed Lil CP and, to
our surprise, saw that the road had been fixed and was once again smooth
(not scrubbed). The soldiers at Lil were not interfering with
the flow of traffic. At Hizmeh CP, on the other hand, the line
of cars was backed up to the entrance to the village (about 1 mile).