Orit Dekel, Michal Weiner, Michelle – a guest from Zurich, Ofra Tene (reporting); Translator: Hanna K.

"Like Cedar trees on your walls, Jerusalem”. A sentence printed on the margins of a document which was given at the Hizme CP to a Palestinian whom we met at Calandia

09:15 A beautiful sunny day. The parking lot is packed-full but the queues are still short. There are only two open lanes, and inside all the work- stations are open. A twisting lane “for the improvement of the service” directs the persons who move between the internal lanes. Less hasty running between the work-stations. The soldier in the bunker efficiently directs the release of the turnstiles, and the passage is quite quick.

The stench from the toilets is horrendous, as usual.

The surface is dirty, broken, and full of pitfalls and obstacles.

Taxi drivers loudly cry out the names of attractive destinations of the rides they can offer. They remain unemployed. Until we left they did not succeed in earning one Shekel.

Lane 3, which isn’t in use, serves those who are prohibited to return, and the soldier in the booth to let pass such persons who need a shortened queue for humanitarian reasons. He indeed is accessible for requests and is ready to let sicks persons and invalids to by pass the first queue.

A woman is made to return. She explains to us that she is 50 years old ut although she knows that from the age of 50 one doesn’t need a permit, they refuse to let her pass. She is angry – “this is my country and it is my right to pray”.

“Till when shall we live like this” a man in the queue asks. “This is our country which we love, we want pease, let us live. One doesn’t behave like this”.  In the queue we are told that sometimes they are delayed for two hours, and pester them with the fingerprints, although this concerns men of sixty five and more. It is known that they are supposed to let women over fifty and men over sixty to pass without an authorization, but in fact this doesn’t happen.

A man from Bir Zeit shows us a doscument he received at Hizme. As a Christian he had a valid permit for a month (including this very day) to pass, owing to the holidays. At Hizme where he passed during the month, they took the permit from him and gave him a document in which it is written that he has the right to approach the DCO (hmmmm….closed on Fridays) but they also retain the right to act against him. In the margin of the document which is written in Hebrew only which we translate for him (probably not the first ones to do so), the proud motto is printed: “Like Cedar trees on your walls, Jerusalem”. The man is very angry. “this is peace?” he asks.

09:45 The time of prayer approaches and the queues become longer and reach the end of the terminal. Phone calls to the DCO. Requests to the soldier in the booth to open another lane. At a certain stage he does open another lane. There is more pressure in the internal passages. We ask to open a humanitarian lane. There isn’t enough manpower” an answer we already received on Friday.

A man and an eight year old boy are returned. The man has a permit but the boy hasn’t.

11:00 We leave.