Qalandiya Checkpoint, Wednesday, 13.4,2011 pm
We arrived at 16:00 at the familiar sight of heavy traffic, pollution and dirt everywhere possible.
Three “sleeves” (1, 2 and 4) are open, but nevertheless all are crowded with between 15 and 30 people at each. From the distance we also saw a long line at the crossing for blue ID cards. Immediately the soldier in the watchtower and the security personnel along the line snap into their usual effort to move us away from our vantage point through the fence of the parking lot and, as always, the event dies down when we don’t react.
The little marketplace where everyone tries to sell is today offering pillows for children’s rooms – a blatant absurdity in this external environment.
A small green car succeeds in threading through the posts that block the traffic circle in an attempt to bypass the line. A young woman stands on her rights and gives the weaving driver an exercise in education.
At 16:30 we join the lines in the pedestrian crossing, where the route begins with a 20 minute wait in a cage.
16:50 sleeves 1 and 2 – meanwhile a woman with pram and two children, aged three and one, is trying to go back through the turnstile – a complex operation while the female soldier doesn’t exactly understand that it is possible to open the humanitarian gate for her.
In the turnstiles, throughout the whole of the last month, transit is especially slow, as people are allowed through in threes, each group only being released as its predecessor finishes the check. It took us about 20 minutes. Together with the cage, a total of 40 minutes.
View of the pedestrians from the side
most of those crossing to Jerusalem are students and workers from the other side of the checkpoint. Conversely those returning in the direction of Palestinian life are our “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” All wretched laborers rushing home after a day’s work that certainly began very early in the morning at this embittering checkpoint.
And, finally, the blue police arrive to do a round of writing tickets before returning home safely. The haul – three tickets at the north crossing, the first for stopping for a moment to let a woman out. The driver, a woman from the American consulate, says that “the 250 shekels is not much but the humiliation is hard!”
An extremely vulgar woman soldier is managing matters. The drivers know her since she was previously a guard at Atarot. Her promotion has granted her power, of course employed for evil.
The second ticket is given to the driver of a Transit which overheated. He drove up, for a moment, onto a traffic island to check the engine and, unluckily for him, the police chose that moment to appear.
The third traffic report was given to a young driver who, in making a turn, had two wheels up on the edge of the roundabout.
And so, in 25 minutes the Israel Police demonstrated their power over the weak, while on the right side of existence they would not even stick their heads out of the patrol car’s window. As for the fines to be paid, see the report Guide for the Confused into Israel Police Behavior in the Occupied Territories!
Next week the beginning of closures for the Jewish holidays.