'Atarot, Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 26.4.10, Afternoon

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Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)

15:30:  Atarot:  We drove past Atarot CP on our way to Qalandiya.  The line of vehicles was already quite long and reached all the way to the turn in the road.  The B.P. soldiers on duty were selectively checking the papers of drivers.

15:30:  Qalandiya:  Traffic was flowing slowly at the southern CP entrance.  We saw that an Israeli ambulance was waiting near the bus stations, so Natanya got out to discover what was happening. 

The three active passageways in the pedestrian CP were full of people and the carousel between the northern shed and the CP was locked.  I got in line with all the others.  The soldier on duty in the booth near the shed appeared to be attentive to his surroundings - he wasn't talking on his cell-phone and wasn't listening to an MP3.  But even when the internal passageways emptied out, he didn't open the carousel.  I phoned headquarters and, when that didn't work, the Passageways Unit (who slammed the phone down as soon as they understood that they were talking to someone from MW).  Nothing seemed to help and we all waited in line for 25 minutes for no apparent reason.  Suddenly, at 4:20 PM, the soldier opened the carousel allowing everyone into the CP.  Passageway No. 4 was completely empty but the soldier on duty wouldn't let me through, saying that that line was for men only.  I sent him some.  I got on line in Passageway 3.  It took one-half an hour to get through the CP.

Meanwhile, the Israeli ambulance (from Lachish) continued to wait.  We were told that they had been waiting for 3 hours.  We offered to try and help the ambulance team (two Jewish Israelis) but they wouldn't cooperate and give us the necessary information to perform liaison.

At the southern entrance to the CP, a young Palestinian man from Beit Furiq approached to thank the MW women who helped him get permission to transfer his young daughter to Jerusalem for a heart operation and arrange entry to Israel for him to accompany her.  The operation was a success and the daughter is recovering, Inshallah.

16:20:  We hear a siren and see an ambulance approaching from Ramallah.  The ambulance is delayed in the CP for 10 minutes before arriving at the bus-stop, but it's not the ambulance we're waiting for.  A little girl of 3 or 4, a pretty but frightened little one accompanied by her father, is transferred to another ambulance that arrives from Jerusalem.  We discover that the first ambulance is waiting for a patient who is coming from Jordan.  Now, from afar, we can see another ambulance approaching the CP from the direction of Ramallah.  It is not allowed through the CP but directed to wait in the northern square by the soldiers.  Natanya goes to see if she can help.

17:00:  Passage is finally coordinated and the ambulance reaches the bus-stop.  The patient is a young Palestinian man who had an operation in Jordan and is now returning home to Gaza.  He and his father, who accompanied him, have a large number of valises and the Israeli ambulance team refuses to take the luggage (which has already been examined on the road near the ambulance).  We tried to explain to the team that the Gazans probably don't have any money left with which to send the luggage by taxi (as suggested by the driver) and that they very likely spent all their money on presents for the family back in Gaza (where you can't buy anything).  In the end they relented and, packing all the luggage in, took off for Gaza.

17:10:  We returned to the northern shed.  The carousel was still locked and the line in the shed was long.  But just as we arrived the soldier finished his tour of duty and, as he was leaving, opened the carousel.  The line pressed through into the CP and disappeared.  Things began to look like they were running smoothly.

17:20:  We left Qalandiya.  On the way back to Jerusalem, we passed through Lil/Jabba, where there was no line at all, and Hizmeh, where the line was moving swiftly.