'Atarot, Qalandiya, Mon 22.12.08, Afternoon

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Phyllis reporting
Seriously? Does this make us safer?
I went to Qalandiya to pick up the
olive oil I had ordered from Abed and, as long as I was there decided
to do a "quickie" shift on my own.

I drove to Qalandiya via Atarot CP.  At this early hour I didn't
expect to see much traffic but I ended up on line behind another 20
vehicles flowing slowly towards the CP where three soldiers were standing. 
They weren't interfering with the traffic but the vehicles slowed as
they passed.

15:00 Qalandiya: 
Two passageways were open (Nos. 1 and 5) with small lines in each. 
The female soldier on duty in the outpost in the northern shed was conducting
a lively telephone conversation and was not paying much attention to
what was happening around her. 

15:15:  After she finished
talking on the phone, she began to apply cosmetics to her face before
a mirror (to the amazed gazes of all the people passing through the
CP).  An argument developed in Passageway 1 between two young Palestinian
men and the soldier on duty who refused to allow them through. 
One of the two was sent back and the other, with whom the soldier was
very angry, was ordered to present his ID card.  When he failed
to comply with the order, the soldier announced over the PA system that
Passageway 1 was now closed.  I phoned Mahdi (Passageway Commander
– this is the first time he has answered a phone call from me) and
told him what was going on.  He said he would check into it. 
After several minutes Passageway 1 suddenly re-opened for business.

15:25:  By now there was
a line of 40 people backed up in the northern shed waiting to enter
the CP.  The lines were moving, but only very slowly in the cold
Jerusalem afternoon.

15:35:  I went out to the
parking lot.  Four buses were waiting in the northern square along
with a long line of other vehicles.  A small private car jumped
the line and drove to its head.  The soldier regulating the flow
of traffic yelled at the driver and told him to go back to the end of
the line but the driver wouldn't or couldn't understand and just stood
there.  In the end the driver won and, in order to free up the
traffic, the soldier allowed him to be the first to enter the vehicle

15:40:  There are now 7 buses
waiting in the square and the traffic jam is growing.  Many drivers
are honking their displeasure.

15:45:  Conditions
continue as above.  The flow of people and vehicles on their way
to Jerusalem continues unabated.  I decided to end the shift before
it began to get dark.