Qalandiya, Mon 12.10.09, Afternoon

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Ruth O, Orit Y. and Ilana D

From 14:00 till 17:00

Nebi Samuel, Ramot CP, Beit Iksa, Har Shmuel, Givat Zeev and Qalandia.

At the entrance to Nebi Samuel there were many more cars than expected after the holidays. A nephew of the grocery store owner was manning a little stand with fruit and vegetables. We proceeded to the store to hear even sadder stories than before about life in this miserable place. His brother had just come back from picking olives on the other side of the wall, in the morning the soldiers had let him cross through the Givat Zeev CP, but this afternoon he was told to go around all the way to Qalandia (at great expense) which is not worth his while for the poor harvest of this year - he was appalled about being unable to access his own trees. Another villager came to complain about the fact that a contractor owed him thousands of shekels, but refused to pay. He had had bad experiences with the same man before. He cannot be trusted, but  apparently he was convinced that the man had changed his ways and would pay for the huge amount of work he had performed for him. He has no hope that the ‘system' will be lenient - they only want us to leave this place. We want to apply to Yesh Din on his behalf. At that moment the nephew of the storeowner called to tell him that Micha of the Military Administration had ordered the fruit stand removed until the next morning, or all the produce would be destroyed. The stand is on his own land, whereas the Jews have erected a proper store with souvenirs, etc. on the same land and are never bothered by the authorities. A huge antenna on top of one of the buildings where the collaborators are housed makes them scared. Three 30-year olds have recently died of cancer in the village and the trees are all sick It was pointed out to us that the Figs of Nebi Samuel were famous all around Jerusalem, now the leaves are black and the trees look sad with a kind of gall-nuts along their branches. They will all die unless the authorities (but which authorities) will treat them. The same neglect is apparent from the fact that sewerage is running straight down the hillside. When the villagers started to build a pipeline it was destroyed by the civil administration. It was again reiterated that the only thing Israel is interested in, is getting the villagers away from this desirable real estate and over the wall. A new CP has been erected in Beit Iksa causing them a lot of trouble.

We drove to Beit Iksa and it turns out that the CP is on the other side of the village, close to Bidu - we decided to drive around to Mt. Shmuel and approach the CP from there as we had done in the past. However, instead of a few boulders there is now a closed gate and a tall fence and there is no way we can get close to it with the car. We will try the road via Beit Iksa at another occasion again.

The wall is nearing completion along the road to Givat Zeev and in addition to a security road alongside it there are tall fences and barbed wire. The Givat Zeev CP was almost deserted; there is still no access for cars.

We continued to Qalandia, the Atarot CP moved and soldiers didn't stop any cars. Nevertheless the queue to go north was long and to enter the roundabout from the south (A-Ram) was practically impossible. We parked and looked what was holding up the cars - they were not stopped, but the flow was slow, because they each had to respect the ‘security zone' between one car and the next. Then we saw major construction on the Western side of the CP next to the lane of the cars going into Jerusalem. A special covered passage for pedestrians was already in place. We asked one of the workers who told us that this was going to be the crossing for those in possession of blue Id's (an apartheid lane for privileged Palestinians, often making a separation between husbands and wives too). The Palestinian worker, employed by Barashi, lives in Nablus; he told us with a big smile that he would have work at least for the next ten years.

At the pedestrian entrance to Qalandia from the Israeli side the hand-machines are still not in use. On the way back we heard a lot of shouting to people who had not put their belongings in the tray before the X-ray machine. It turns out that there was only one tray, which has to be picked up from the other end all the time, which slows the queue and also hampers the security.

When we suggested the army provide some more trays, we were told that there is no budget for these things. A man told us not to come in the afternoons, but to observe what happens in the morning. This morning he had waited for over an hour and younger workers, like monkeys had climbed the fences in order to get in front of the long lines.

The long lines and entanglement at the roundabout had evaporated, however, the queue at the Atarot CP stretched all the way to the intersection with the traffic light and the CP to the entrance of Jerusalem.