Ar-Ram, Qalandiya, Thu 15.5.08, Morning

Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email
Mili, M., Hanah S., Marlene R. Reporting

Busy but smooth. Police presence
attributed by them to ongoing training. Lanes moved quickly and coordination
among soldiers and private contractors appeared to be good. Since it was quiet,
we moved on to A-Ram which had a very long line of cars waiting to go through
the checkpoint. Only one lane was open. Quiet but a very long wait for the cars
lined up.

7:20-9:15Most upsetting situation here. The
front turnstiles were opened for only a few seconds at a time and the crowds
were angry, frustrated and upset, understandably. As one Palestinian waiting to
go through commented to us, they were being “played with and treated like
animals.”  Several younger men attempted, to no avail, to climb over the
guards.  Women’s line eventually opened but moved more slowly than
usual.  One Palestinian wondered aloud to us why if he has a valid pass,
must he be subjected to these daily humiliations. After we contacted Matak, the
ladies line moved more quickly and passage was given to a child in a wheelchair
escorted by what appeared to be the mother. On a few occasions, Mili attempted
to get the attention of either the police or the private guards but was
consistently ignored. We finally found out that only males over the age of 25
were allowed through and then only if they could prove that they were going only
to Anata.  When we asked one of the guards why the situation at the
exterior turnstiles was so arbitrary and the openings so brief (literally a few
seconds at a time with intervals of many minutes) we were told that it was“Our matter which I cannot reveal to
you!”  The situation was absurd and the anger was apparent amongst the
crowd waiting for passage.  Eventually, around 8:45 they closed the women’s
lane completely, announcing that Matak would open at 9am..The interior
turnstiles were all open (5) but seemed to be extremely slow today.  One
woman with an infant was escorted by me to the front of the line of men and the
guard agreed to open it briefly for her.  I motioned to about 8 other women
in line to go through and the guard permitted this though the crowd appeared to
be agitated by this.  One man spoke to Mili about the situation of his
16 yeasr old son whom he claimed had run away last nite and was placed in
the Neve Yaakov Police Station. After Mili made several calls, he was told that
indeed his son was locked up in the Russian Compound. The man checked his ID
which had the name and number of his son. He passed this information on and was
told that the police would contact him.

Before Hizma and at Hizma there was
a very long line and wait. What is usually a 5 minutes trip took nearly 20