Ar-Ram, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, יום א' 7.9.08, אחה"צ
There were fifteen cars waiting for inspection by the military and Israel
border police, as well as a civilian security unit in order to pass
towards Jerusalem. We were driving towards an opening in the concrete
wall, which had been built by Israel in the middle of the A-ram neighborhood
and which until recently had prevented complete separation between the
two parts of the neighborhood. Two tall security poles were now added
to the watch tower as well as a locked metal door – the wall was completed.
Someone was burning trash beneath the three stairs leading to the door.
We were informed that the opening has been blocked since Thursday. We
drove further along the monstrous wall separating Palestinians from
We arrived at the Qalandiya checkpoint
at 15:30. Seven men, aged 30-55, approached us by the entrance shade.
They had been caught in shoafat on their way to work in Israel. Their
ID cards had been confiscated there and they were sent to the checkpoint
to obtain them. They reached Qalandiya three hours ago and have
been waiting since. There was no one to turn to here – with the massive
wall in the background; the checkpoint was a complex of fences’ shadows,
dark passages, and thick glass. From the loudspeakers the orders were
heard in a distorted voice. Even if the people (which had been de facto
out of their homes since yesterday - they had spent the previous night
at a nearby village to be closer to the checkpoint and got on the road
at 3 am) would have managed to pass through the fences and the lines,
they would have reached a low-ranked female soldier behind a bullet-proof
glass, and she, completely irrelevant, could not have been of any help.
They would have needed the police.
The post office was closed at three
and nobody answered in the DCO (District Coordination Office).
A young woman walked out of the line.
She was frantic. The woman could not find her Eastern Jerusalem Blue
(ID) card. She had not been let through and she claimed she was in a
big hurry. She wondered aloud whether she had lost the card recently
at the checkpoint and how she might have lost it. We called the police
and it turned out that her blue card had been found and was kept by
There were two passages in length and
width of an average person and at their end a turnstile. These
were in fact the first obstacles on the way to the inspection. However,
at the time only one of the turnstiles was open at the end of the passage.
Unfortunately, those passing did not know which of the passages was
open and evidently chose the wrong one at times; and there were some
that looked back towards those sitting on the benches, waiting for a
sign that would clarify which one was the open passage.
There were signs in several languages
asking to “Keep clean and in order”, and on the outside wall someone
had written a graffiti in German – “Arbeit macht frei” (“work
A policeman approached the fence. He
brought the blue card to the young woman. He was passing her a form
to sign on from the other side of the fence and then handed her the
card. One of the seven workers anxiously approached the fence to ask
the policeman some questions but was dismissed by him under the pretext
that he had no knowledge and relation to the matter. At which checkpoint
have they told you to wait? He asks. It turned out no such information
had been disclosed to them. After several phone calls the cards were
found at the A-ram checkpoint. At 16:30 a jeep belonging to the Israel
Border Police arrived with the ID cards. Thirty people were waiting
for inspection to pass to the Jerusalem side – only one line was open.
The voice of the female soldier in the loudspeakers was dissonant –
she was impatiently reproaching people to advance, walk back, or take
We left at 17:00.
there were four soldiers
at the Lil checkpoint and one of them pointed his gun towards the
cars. Another soldier stopped cars occasionally and we were informed
that he is just asking some question to determine the accent. In fact,
they claim that their job is to prevent accidental entrance of Jews