'Atara, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Mon 17.11.08, Afternoon
Atara CP: When we reached Atara we could see long lines of
cars in every direction. Fifteen cars were waiting on the road
up to the CP on the way to Bir Zeit and another 20 or so were waiting
on the road leaving Bir Zeit. There was even a short line of cars
on the road out of Atara Village. However the wait was no longer
than 10 minutes in each direction.
Just as we arrived at the CP, a truck
out of Atara impaled itself on a spiky roadblock that the soldiers had
laid across the road to make it narrower and to slow traffic (or so
one of the soldiers explained saying that the spikes were always there
and that all the drivers knew that). Its not so clear why the
soldiers would place the spikes just there when the entry to the CP
at that point is just at the end of a very high and narrow bridge which
drivers take slowly anyway. In any event, the truck's driver was
very upset considering that the damage caused to the tire was irreversible
and would require him to purchase a new tire. He told us that
he passes this point every day and had never seen the spiky roadblock
A white car on its way to Bir Zeit drove
into the CP. After checking the papers the soldiers ordered the
two men in the car to stand against the wall and submit to a body check.
All the while another soldier stood by with his rifle at the ready.
It turned out that there were no problems and the two men were shortly
permitted to continue on their way.
All the lines disappeared and traffic was flowing. We left for
Two passageways were operating, both of them pretty empty, while a crowd
of 60 to 70 people waited in the northern shed before the only carousel
that was working. The female soldier in the northern guard house
was busy solving crossword puzzles and paying scant attention to the
length of the lines inside and out. However a few minutes after
we arrived she opened the carousel and allowed 40 people to enter the
CP. The line in the northern shed quickly lengthened again with
the arrival of many bus passengers from Ramallah.
16:40: We joined the line
of people waiting (about 30) and waited 12 minutes to pass through the
carousel and enter the CP, where we waited another 4 minutes – 16
minutes in all – before emerging on the Jerusalem side.
At the vehicle CP traffic was moving
as usual but we could see in the distance that the line of cars at Atarot
CP was very long. Two ambulances drove into the CP. The
one from Ramallah transferred a young man to the one from Jerusalem
accompanied by a woman who seemed to be his mother.
We returned to the pedestrian CP. Now there were no lines at all.
We sat in the northern shed with a bunch of teenage boys, students at
a U.N. technical school in Qalandiya where they were studying such subjects
as computers and electronics. They were good company. The CP remained
quite empty so we finished our shift at 17:30.
We drove through Lil CP on our way back
to Jerusalem. There were no lines and the traffic was flowing.