Monday PM, 17.12.07, 12:30-17:00 Ezyon DCL. 2 men, students from Tunis, who had already been summoned last week and before for GSS interrogation were waiting again. Another Palestinian came later; he was reprimanded for being late (he had been expected to arrive from the Container CP within half an hour), handed in his papers, and was told to wait. A tourist guide came to collect his permit, which was awaiting him, and it took a lot of shouting on our part until he was let in. The police window was closed (for two weeks now) with no sign announcing this. A super-polite printed note in Hebrew explains to applicants that if they have to wait, it is due to the fact that adequate attention is given to the requests of those who entered before him (sic!).
Tuesday, 18.12.07, AM 06:30, Bethlehem CP. The eve of the Muslim holiday of al-Adha, and the CP is almost empty. Passage is smooth and quick. This CP is better designed for holidays, not for the everyday passage of thousands.
07:30, Ezyon DCL. Six people, all applying for magnetic cards. An announcement states that there will be no police rep for a fortnight.
Thursday AM, 20.12.07
05:30 Bethlehem CP. 2 windows open. Totally deserted. We are told by 3 women who crossed, that the Palestinian side is also empty.
Abu Dis Area
Monday AM, 17.12.07
Olives Terminal, 06:30. We came tooo late to see hundreds of people passing, which apparently happens between 5-6 A.M.
East Jerusalem. Much traffic - minibuses, large buses, and many many merchants, getting ready for Id El Adha on Wednesday. Quite a presence of BP, mostly females, walking around the city, but we saw no confrontations.
Container CP: Smoothly flowing traffic. No car stopped or detained.
Tuesday PM. 18.12.07
Olives Terminal. More people than usual at this time. We approached a man with his wife and 3 very young children. The wife (blue ID) and children were heading toward the Palestinian side. The man, green ID, could not go through, because his permit had expired. He has been trying, unsuccessfully, for months to get it renewed but was told that they are not doing any renewals. He wanted to visit his father during the holiday, but cannot pass the CP with an expired permit. He has worked at the same place in Jerusalem for years. His boss keeps him on even without the permit. But he is unable to visit his family on the other side.
Container CP. It is a holiday. Much traffic, very few workers. Many of the vehicles were private cars, and several were singled out for long, meticulous, unprecedented inspection. The vehicle doors were opened, and the padding on them was inspected; the motor was checked against the information on the registration; everything in the trunk was removed and the area thoroughly checked. These inspections took up to 20 minutes. The BP related to each person as if he were a potential terrorist. Another kept barking at people to get back into the car. In all cases, there were young children in the back seats of the vehicles, who were probably scared out of their minds.In the midst of one of these inspections, a car came the wrong way up the road. The physician driver started to get out of the car to explain himself, but was yelled back into it unheard.
Monday AM, 17.12.07
Anata, 07:00. Many schoolbuses and people. Preparations underway for the Festival of Sacrifice. The CO is aware of this.
Qalandiya, 08:00. Surprisingly little traffic and few people passing. Some people queuing at the government offices. The National Insurance and Labor offices have signs saying: "Interrogation rooms". The DCL commander proudly told us that the backlog they had with issuing magnetic cards has been overcome. We also discussed some practices he uses in medical cases. He said Palestinians prefer Qalandiya over the Palestinian DCLs. We will look into this. This discussion ensued because of a Jericho woman with a handwritten letter from a local doctor referring her to a Jerusalem eye doctor. That wasn't enough to allow her passage. The woman, with an obvious eye problem, and her daughter looked so lost.
Wednesday PM, 19.12.07
Qalandiya CP. The crowds here build up every afternoon 16:30-17:30, when many Palestinians want to cross back home to Jerusalem. And it is precisely at 16:30 that soldiers get their "break", and only 1 checking station remains open. On this holiday, entire families with their festively dressed children (all Jerusalemites or with special permits to go to Israel) must wait outside the CP area until the only checking station is free, when 10-15 people are allowed to cross the first turnstile and wait for their turn at the checking station. We ask for another checking station be opened and the solider says in wonder: "But the soldiers have to eat sometime". Why not at15:30, when there are few people crossing? After so much daily experience, sending the soldiers to eat at peak crossing time seems to be done on purpose. Only at 17:20 is a second station opened. Many people have already missed the holiday dinner. A 15 year old boy who looks older tells us he lost his birth certificate and cannot cross to Jerusalem, where he lives. He sits and waits for a miracle.
A man who was told to come to the CDO before 5pm to pick up a permit to collect his wife from Ben Gurion airport says that the DCL closed at 4pm, and he cannot reach anyone. After many calls, it turns out that the staff is sitting inside the DCL but don't open the door or serve the people. It takes many calls to get them to open and give this man his permit. At the roundabout at the northern section of the vehicle CP a soldier shouts at us from the pillbox: "Go away!", "I will call the police", "LEAVE THE ARMY ALONE". The soldier controlling the traffic from the booth at the roundabout orders us: "MachsomWatch, come here". We ignore them.
Thursday AM, 20.12.07
The day after Id El Adha.
Anata 06:40. Very quiet. Hardly a car passing.
Old Ar-Ram, 06:52. As with Anata, very few cars going through. We waited to pass along with 3 other northbound vehicles for about 5 minutes. Why so long with so few cars?
Qalandiya, 07:05. The main terminal nearly empty, just 8 women, some with little children, waiting for the prisoners' visitation. Two lines were open and passage seemed smooth and orderly. 2 elderly people carrying large packages were denied entry, but after intervention, they entered through the disabled access (unfortunately they were still refused passage, because they had no permit).
By 07:45, the terminal filled with over 100 families waiting entry. At 08:10, 3 terminals opened under the supervision of approximately 8 police, soldiers, and Red Cross representative, each of whom seemed to have particular responsibility for some part of the traffic flow. The people inside the enclosed area gave very clear directions on the loudspeakers, often slowly repeating words which seemed unclear to the listeners. They were quite polite and spoke in a pleasant tone. By 08:30, nearly all the waiting families had passed through.
Sunday, 16.12.07, PM
14:45, Beit Iba. There are quite many soldiers -- 10–15 -- and two commanders. The general attitude towards the Palestinians is civil. Three lines are functioning, one of them “humanitarian.” Few vehicles on either direction; they are checked without much delay
16:00, Jit Junction. Empty
Thursday, 20.12.07, PM
Today is Celebration of the Sacrifice, an important Muslim holiday. It is pouring rain, torrents of water. An actual little river is filling the pedestrian walk way with filthy water.
14:50–16:50, Beit Iba. The checkpoint is crowded with people dressed for the holidays trying to step gingerly through the puddles. And what about the lovely newly renovated check point with its roofs to protect soldiers and Palestinians alike from the rain, sleet, sun and snow. The roofed section is just part of the larger unprotected area one must pass through from the point of transportation on one side of the checkpoint to the point on the other. In addition the passageway, designated for those coming into Nablus, is just where the roof ends so not only is there no protection there, there are extra streams of water running down from the roof itself.
There was a constant line of 12-16 vehicles from Nablus. Waiting time: about 50 minutes. Vehicle traffic to Nablus was light. A constant line of 60-100 pedestrians from Nablus. 2 lines for young men, and a line for families and older people. Also a constant flow of pedestrians to Nablus, but they were not being checked.
17: 05, Jit Junction. Not manned.
17:30, Qalqilya. No line formed coming out of the city and there was a short line going in.
Thursday, 20.12.07, PM , 14:00–14:49
14:00, Jubara & Ar-Ras. Reserve duty soldiers were manning the children's gate and the Ar-Ras CP. On the road leading from the Qalqilya the passage was narrowed by a line of stones placed on both sides of the road, and cars had to go off the road to pass through.
14:39, Anabta. Uneventful
Sunday, 16.12.07, PM
13:30, Ar-Ras. Manned by reservists. No cars and no pedestrians.
14:00, Anabta. Empty
16:25, Qalqilya. Over 16 vehicles coming out of Qalqilya and six going in.
Only Israeli vehicles are stopped, IDs and authorization to enter checked.
Sunday AM, 16.12.07, 06:30 –-10:00 Sansana CP, 06:30-07:40 – A mass of people push and squeeze together between the iron bars and especially around the stuck turnstiles, where the fittest manage to jump over. The workers have been trying to pass from early morning. They appeal to us to do something: "Call the press!" "It is a holiday soon, and how will we earn and celebrate if we cannot come to work on time?!” Workers tell us that the pressure on this CP has doubled, because Sussia passage was closed last week and Sansana is now the only southern entrance CP into Israel. The turnstiles stop turning, automatically, under the pressure of people. “We keep begging them to keep their distance, but they just do not listen”. Road 60. No special events. A farmer plows his land with a horse, a military Hummer parks at the crossing of Shiyuch-Sair, and the children are already in the schools, after having walked the long distances along the narrow dangerous margins of the apartheid road. Hebron, 08:00. No detainees at the many CPs of the ghost-town.
Monday AM, 19.12.07, 06:30-09:30
06:45 Sansana (Meitar) CP. No workers crossing today, but numbers of workers walking along the road towards Meitar.
07:00 Dura and El Fawwar, Sheep junction -- open.
07:30-08:45.Hebron. Today a new unit is replacing the previous one.
Pharmacy CP. Schoolchildren and several adults passing in both directions. A Christian volunteer told us it is more difficult to get visas renewed, and that visas are not being granted to people over 60.
Tarpat magnetic CP. Children and adults passing, in both directions.
Tel Rumeida. Soldiers stationed at the street entrance, including 2 BPs. They told us they do regular patrols there, and it is their responsibility to prevent clashes between the settlers and the Palestinians.They said that the clashes are instigated by the settlers and they protect the Palestinians. The only Palestinians allowed on the street are those who lived there. If friends wanted to visit, they must get permission. We conversed with a local Palestinian. He was born in 1935, and remembers the time when relations between neighbors were good and he visited his Jewish neighbors in Beit Hadassah. Now the settlers at times intentionally park so close to his doorway that he has difficulty leaving his house.