Ar-Ram, Qalandiya, Sun 15.6.08, Afternoon

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Phyllis W. and Natanya G. Phyllis reporting

A-Ram CP: 
No one there but soldiers.

The gate in the Wall was closed so we
traveled to Qalandiya via A-Ram.

Only one passageway was open and many people were
waiting on line.  It subsequently turned out that the line was
not moving at all and the multitude waited in quiet despair in the fierce
heat of a Jerusalem "hamsin" (heat wave). 

The DCO passageway was empty but we could see that quite a crowd was
waiting in the shed.  Two women arrived in the hope that they would
be able to receive a permit to accompany the 5-year old son of one of
them to an operation next morning in Jerusalem.  We phoned the
DCO which checked the details and told us to inform the women that they
were to wait and would be allowed to enter.  Meanwhile, all those
waiting in the DCO shed were sent home and told to return the next day. 
How many hours were wasted in waiting? 

We continued to wait with the women until
it turned out that there were no soldiers present in the passageway
command room.  The soldier in the DCO offices said that if no soldiers
were present there was no way he could open the passageway for the women. 
We called Qalandiya Headquarters Office and asked to be put through
to the DCO representative, but he didn't answer the phone.  So
we called Hannan (Commander of the Security Unit) who promised to do
something, and so he did!  After a few minutes, the DCO representative
appeared and after questioning the women (by shouting from the other
end of the passageway) he called them to enter the DCO offices via Passageway
No. 3.  Hannan also arranged to open another passageway for pedestrians
so that at 16:15 things began to move and the situation to improve. 
The lines gradually shortened and the northern carousel entrance remained

16:40:  Two very happy women
exited the DCO offices with the permit in hand!

16:50  Vehicle CP: 
The CP was working as usual.  Members of the "Canine Patrol"
were not present.  From the distance we could see that the line
of vehicles at Atarot CP was very long, reaching as far as the horizon. 
The line remained just as long all the while we were at the vehicle

17:10:  A Red Cross truck
entered the CP bound south for Jerusalem.  The soldiers on duty
called over a policeman who confiscated the driver's ID card (making
him very angry).  The driver was instructed to park his truck outside
the CP.  When we approached to find out what had happened, the
driver told us that Red Cross trucks always pass through the Qalandiya
or Hizmeh CP's.  He hinted that the policeman's order to take his
truck to the Bethunya CP (the CP for commercial cargo) could be attributed
to "non-relevant" motives and he refused to do as told. 
A phone call to Abuhazeira did not help.

17:20  Two Palestinian women
were sitting and talking on a bench standing near the CP wall at a small
distance from the bus station where the busses pick up their passengers
who had to cross the CP on foot. Suddenly a soldier in the vehicle
CP noticed them and shouted from afar that they should "clear out",
that they were not allowed to sit there.  Why?  For whom was
the bench placed there?  "Not for them" said the soldier
when we asked him.  Apparently there are now apartheid benches
in Jerusalem!

We returned to the pedestrian CP.  Once again only one passageway
was operating and a very long line snaked almost all the way to the
northern entranceway.  This time we phoned our complaint directly
to the Qalandiya Headquarters Office immediately.

Another passageway was opened and conditions improved somewhat. 
We saw the Red Cross truck drive north out of the CP.  On exiting
Qalandiya the driver turned right towards Hizmeh CP.  When we passed
there later he was not there so we thought that perhaps he had managed
to cross.

18:00:  On leaving Qalandiya
we decided not to go to Rafat but to continue straight to Lil. 
The four soldiers on duty there were not interfering with the traffic. 
We saw that all the concrete blocks constituting the CP had been moved
to the shoulders of the road.  Our premature joy that the CP would
be removed was squelched by the soldiers who told us that the IDF plans
to build a more permanent structure for the CP.  Conditions are
unlikely to improve.  We returned to Jerusalem.