Ar-Ram, Qalandiya, Wed 18.2.09, Afternoon

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 Ruti and Hannah (reporting)
15:50 Ar Ram  Today, we were informed that the Ar Ram
checkpoint is closed.  There was no checking of vehicles into Ar Ram.  There was
checking of those going into Jerusalem.  The temporary fence is in the process
of being dismantled, up to the intersection of the stadium intersection.  The
people were ruminating "We just need bread for our children".  There was a lot
of garbage on the street.  The iron fence of Ar Ram was closed.  There was only
an exit to the north.  Palestinian Ar Ram was closed.
16:05 Qalandiya  From afar, we could see a line at Atarot.  In
the plaza of Qalandiya on the Jerusalem side, there was a group of English
youngsters (wearing kipot) being guided by an Israeli who came to Israel in a
program called "Learning about the realities"  The guide had heard about
machsomwatch and allowed us to answer the questions of the
16:25 There was a huge bottleneck around the two traffic
circles -- the north and the south.  Cars from Atarot, Ar Ram, inspections
without purpose at the checkpoint of vehicles leaving, and a total stoppage of
all lanes in the northern circle.  Everything stood still, even the alternative
routes around the circle.  Blocked.  A driver said "There is no democracy here
-- no human rights.  You have a heart of stone that drives us to
16:50  The iron gate of the wall to Ar Ram was opened and all
the private vehicles heading to Palestinian Ar Ram from Atarot and Jerusalem
were directed through.  Trucks and minibuses went straight ahead.  For those
going through Ar Ram, the way is longer.  We did not understand the reason for
the congestion.  Could it be related to the changes in southern Ar
16:35  In the waiting area cage. There was only one sleeveinfo-icon
17:55 At least 70 people were in front of the left cage and in
it.  A soldier was trying to make order.  We called to those responsible to have
them open another sleeve.  Within minutes, they announced the opening of a new
lane and people races to the new lane.  And -- the lane was closed.  (Perhaps it
was never even opened).  Everyone went back to the old lane.  This pattern
repeated itself three times during the time that we were there. 
The meanwhile, lane 5 was opened to those not carrying
everything.  The problem was that not everyone knew about that and there were
those who went in and were sent back and started waiting all over
17:20  Started to pass through the cage
17:33Waiting in lane 3.  There was a huge line, and again the
same thing happens as above.  The total confusion, absence of organization, and
the total absence of concern especially felt today.  There was the feeling that
all those responsible for the checkpoint today, from the simplest soldier up to
the very top brass -- all of them lost their humanity.  People were infuriated. 
An older woman broke down in tears.  Yes, she is here every day.
18:00 There is still a line in sleeve #3.  Now, lanes 2 and 5
are opened.  A young woman must take off her boots.  "You are ignoring us" says
the woman soldier from behind the closed passageway.  The pleas of the young
woman did not help, she removed her boots and appeared in pretty stiped socks on
the freezing and filthy floor.  She put the boots through the machine.  It got
stuck.  Then they went through.  The young woman was consumed with anger from
the frustration.  The argument at the window continued "until the matter is
solved".  The entire line was being punished.  The young woman shouted out on
behalf of the violence against whole line, against all this shame.  She was
detained in a side room.  Policeman P.K. asked her to accompany him.  He
promised us that she would be released in a few minutes.  We waited a while
longer and left.
18:30  We went through lane 3 at 18:30.
18:43 A long line of cars heading north, along the Ar Ram
wall.  The iron gate between Ar Ram and Qalandiya was closed.