Ar-Ram, Qalandiya, Thu 29.5.08, Morning

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Mili M., Chana S. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

6.25 a.m.
our way to park the car we saw two border police with a group of about 10
women. They had disappeared by the time we walked back but
bystanders told us that the women were caught crossing the fence and were sent
back through the checkpoint. We were also told that police had
pushed one woman and had ‘dragged a girl on the ground.' At the
checkpoint itself there were the usual procedures of checking all cars.
Two women pedestrians tried to pass by hiding next to a bus but were
spied long before they reached the checkpoint.

the way back to the car, a heartwarming incident: a man driving
his children to school made a little detour so as to tell us how much he, and so
many others, appreciate the presence of Machsomwatchers. "Ypu can
not imagine how grateful y\we are and how often people talk about you , that
even if you only come and say good morning it changes our day! While in the
traffic line it's hard to make contact so as to tell us this." He definitely
made our day, hope that yours too.

7.10 a.m.

Routinely tedious waiting line of traffic. Unlike Anata,
here people wait to be called one by one before they can cross.

The wall that we drive along now to reach Qalandia has
the most amazing collection of multilingual graffiti - not that it makes fora
more aesthetic experience for the people living along the

7.15 a.m.

Three turnstiles were open (though their lights seemed to
be out of order) and people were waiting quietly in line, women and men
together. As the lines at all five

gatesinfo-icon were themselves so full, perhaps there did not seem
much point in having the humanitarian gate open.

ecumenical observer told us that at 5.15 there had been a tremendous crush, with
only one gate open.

friendly police officer (Eli) told us that they have plans to arrange that
people will get permits from 4 o'clock and not from 5.30 so that there will be a
longer time for crossing, which may relieve the pressure.
Currently the CP is opne at 4 but people are not allowed to pass till 5.30. He
also suggested that we come at different times from the ecumenicals as that
would increase the time for monitoring!

the gates, there were quite a few small children who get crushed among the
adults and some people tiredly carrying babies. We suggest - once
again - that there be a bench available at each gate. This would
take up very little room .

the DCO had not opened by 8.39, we called the ‘war room' who responded

There were still some confusing announcements about which
gates were free. Perhaps this was the reason some people continued
to try gate 5 even after this was to serve only the DCO. At any
rate, after passing through the turnstile at gate 5, one man was told to go back
to one of the other gates. Obviously self-confident, he refused as
this would mean going to the back of a queue. The border policeman
was adamant. The man apparently quietly cursed (so we were told by
bystanders) and the BP said he would call the police. The man,
showing no emotion at all, followed him into the office.

the DCO itself, a woman soldier told a man that his business couldn't be handled
as the relevant officer was not on duty and he should return on Sunday. Why
wan't the officer there ate the opening time?

This soldier also told us that we were not allowed to be
inside the MATAK, is it so?