Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Tue 6.11.12, Morning

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Ina Friedman, Nava Jenny Elyashar (reporting)



Translator: Charles K.


Qalandiya – 06:00

The vehicle checkpoint is crowded with vehicles coming from Ramallah.

Three long lines at the checkpoint itself – about 240 men. Some 40 people wait on the humanitarian line. All five inspection booths are open.


The humanitarian lane opens at 06:05 but the people waiting weren’t admitted.


A young man jokes to me: “It’s a good thing there’s a checkpoint; it organizes our lives for us. We get up, stand in line…spend the day thinking about what the checkpoint will be like tomorrow.”

Carelessly, I was swept up in the flow of black humor and replied: “Yes, it’s really beneficial. Otherwise, when would you have the time to stand and talk with friends?”

A young man who heard only my reply calls out to me: “You said that it’s good there’s a checkpoint? That it helps you get things organized?”

I recounted the conversation for him, stressing my opposition to the checkpoints.

He relaxed and said, smiling: “That’s what I thought, but you confused me.”

“Life and death are on the tip of the tongue,” say our sages. They were right.

I fell into a trap that could have led to a serious misunderstanding.


Qalandiya - 06:30

300 people entered inspection during the past half hour, 70 of them through the humanitarian gate.

The regular line is still long. There’s a problem at inspection booth no. 5 where people who went through the humanitarian gate are waiting. Inspection there is painfully slow. About 50 people stand at the closed humanitarian gate; ten women move over to the regular line which has shortened.


The policeman is worried. He runs back and forth, looks at what’s happening, checks the length of the line at inspection booth no. 5, peers through the bars to see how long the regular lines are. He tries to regulate the lines, moves a few people from one line to another – he cares.


My conclusion: One pleasant soldier and a responsible, concerned policeman are able to calm an explosive situation without creating a huge traffic jam that will take a long time to overcome. The (technical?) problem was solved in 20-30 minutes and the lines became shorter.


But the female soldier continues screaming over the loudspeaker, in Hebrew: “Not two at a time - one by one!”


Qalandiya – 07:00

385 people entered inspection during the past half hour, 175 of them through the humanitarian gate.

The humanitarian line again lengthens after booth no. 5 began operating again and all the 80 people waiting there were admitted at once. Many women now wait on the regular line, which has become much shorter.


Qalandiya – 07:30

300 people entered inspection during the past half hour, 55 of them through the humanitarian gate.

There is no more line. The green light over the first revolving gate remains lit; everyone arriving goes through. The soldiers left the building, and we left also.


Qalandiya – 07:40

A very long line at the vehicle checkpoint.

A soldier with a megaphone calls to one of the drivers: “Khawajah! Ho! Ho! Get back!”

In view of that irritable behavior, and since we had been detained last week for half an hour at the vehicle checkpoint, we decided it would be better to wait in the traffic jam that forms every morning on the bypass road via the Hizma checkpoint rather than taking the shorter route from the vehicle checkpoint straight to Atarot and Highway 443.

Dozens of cars wait in a long traffic jam that begins at the Jaba checkpoint and A-Ram. Most of the cars are apparently going to Ramallah; some will cross to Israel via the vehicle checkpoint.


The building at the Jaba checkpoint is manned, but in the opposite direction – unlike in the past, now the soldiers look at us when we leave the Qalandiya checkpoint, not at those entering the checkpoint.