'Atarot, Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 4.5.09, Afternoon

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Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (Phyllis reporting )

 15:40:  The line of cars at Atarot CP was already quite long but did not yet reach around the bend. 

15:45:  Qalandiya:  At the entrance to Qalandiya CP we were happily surprised to meet our friend the coffee vendor who was at his "post" again and told us that the soldiers were not bothering him (for the moment).  Within the pedestrian CP, three passageways were operating  and the number of people on line was not large.

15:50:  We passed through the CP and emerged in the vehicle CP (Jerusalem side).  There we saw a transit-bus drive up and disgorge 12 young men, apparently "illegal border crossers", each of whom in turn received his ID documents.

In the vehicle examination post close to where we were standing we saw a Palestinian man with a bicycle talking to an Israeli police officer.  When the policeman walked off we spoke with the man, Musa, and it turned out that he was a resident of East Jerusalem (Israeli ID) and an employee of the UN.  On Monday morning, returning home after a shift as night-watchman at a UN post near Ramallah, soldiers at the vehicle CP had taken his ID card and his UN card and had not returned them.  Musa was tired so he left his documents at the CP and went home to sleep, returning in the afternoon to look for his papers.  Police officer Babayan called headquarters to find out where the papers were and he was told that Musa would be able to claim them only in another 2 weeks. And how was Musa to walk around and go to work without his ID documents?  We phoned the Association for Citizens' Rights to ask for help and also, on the recommendation of Hannah B., we suggested to Musa that he call his boss at the UN and ask him to intervene for him.  (The boss really did get to work, but only on Tuesday was Musa able to collect his papers.)

Meanwhile the line of cars going towards Ramallah had gotten very long and extended all the way around the southern CP square.  The line of cars at Atarot was also very long and reached beyond the horizon.

16:20:  We returned to the pedestrian CP.  We noted, in the northern shed, that cordon-ribbons had been tied around the narrow entrances to two of the carousel lanes, so that only one carousel was open to the public.  We asked the security personnel how the crowds of people on their way to work in the morning would get through and he answered smiling, "slowly."  We saw no signs that anyone was fixing the problem.

Within the CP three passageways were still working and lines were small and moving quickly.

We stayed at Qalandiya until 17:30.  There were no unusual occurrences.  We returned to Jerusalem via Lil and Hizmeh CPs.  At Lil traffic was flowing undisturbed.  Hizmeh was crowded but there was not much of a delay.