Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 18.10.10, Afternoon
Monday afternoon, 18.10.2010
15:30, Qalandiya: The CP was slightly more crowded than it has been for weeks. Unfortunately the crowding did not appear to be the result of more people coming to the CP but to inefficiency of the soldiers providing service. Three passageways were active almost all the time, but the soldier in the post in the northern shed kept tight control of the entrance turnstile, slowing down the flow of traffic.
A friend whom we met at the CP told us that the crowding on Monday morning had been unusually heavy and that workers trying to get to their jobs had been delayed at the CP for an hour to an hour and a half.
A man was waiting in Passageway 5, trying to get into the DCO offices. All his attempts to attract the attention of the soldiers in the "aquarium" were to no avail. We phoned the DCO from the northern shed and the man was admitted after a few minutes.
15:45: We entered the CP and got on line in Passageway 2. In front of us on line was a middle aged woman accompanied by a big boy. They managed to reach the examination area after a wait of 10 minutes. The soldiers in the aquarium refused them permission to enter Jerusalem because they had a problem with the 15 year-old boy's birth certificate. In the end, after an argument that lasted another 5 minutes, the two were allowed to continue on their way. Meanwhile a long line had formed behind us and the two soldiers on duty announced that they had closed the passageway, ordering all those waiting to go elsewhere. We phoned headquarters to complain, not so much for ourselves but for those behind us. Keinan intervened and after a few minutes the 2 soldiers went back to work and opened the gate. At the same time they turned on all sorts of electronic equipment that screeched and chirped so loudly that it hurt peoples' ears. However, after Natanya and I had gone through they stopped the punishment.
16:15: Leaving the pedestrian CP, we went to see what was happening at the vehicle section. There appears to be a change in examination procedures. Instead of checking drivers and vehicles in full view of people in the bus station, the examination is now taking place behind and between the checkposts in the vehicle lanes so that people can no longer see what is happening.
On our way back to the northern shed we observed that some of the biometric machines were not operating and that none of the Palestinians returning from work were using them.
16:40: There were 40 people waiting on line in the northern shed waiting to enter the CP. After several minutes one of the internal passageways was closed, exacerbating the problem of crowding. At this point there were many mothers with small children waiting on line in the shed as well as students. We phoned the humanitarian hotline and Keinan as well. Both promised to look into the matter but nothing positive happened.
17:10: We left Qalandiya to return to Jerusalem. The traffic was flowing at Lil/Jabba CP. Just beyond the CP a police car was parked on the road and a policeman was stopping Palestinian vehicles to check their papers.