Qalandiya, Thu 21.5.09, Morning
Atarot. 6.50. Only 3 cars in line.
Qalandiya. As I did not have a partner but had to be in the area I went to Qalandiya arriving at 7.00. There was no humanitarian line but all 5 checking booths were open. There were about 150 people in the shed but inside all 5 booths were packed with people. I would say that inside there were the same number in front of the checking booths,. The coffee vendor said it had been a god day. For once except for an occasional shout the loudspeakers were quiet.
I tried to check on how long people had to wait and at 7.15 first took two women with pink mandil who were already inside and saw that it took them 20 minutes to get through the first turnstile. I do not know how long they had waited in the shed. At 7.30 I asked a man in the shed to phone me and let me know how long it took for him to get through in all and he phoned later to say about 20 minutes (which was an improvement on the earlier hour) but that yesterday he had waited an hour. When I left at 8.15 all 5 booths were still open and there were 20-30 people waiting to go in.
At one stage a man in civvies came through with a soldier who I think was from the Matak (I forgot to ask). I went up to ask why there had been no humanitarian line and the soldier explained that they had had one until about 7 am and when they saw that everything was under control they had closed it. Even though the pedestrian lanes seemed to stream very steadily it still seems a pity as there were many small children in the line, some elderly people and also women with small children for whom this would have been a great help. I wondered at the gentleman in civvies but he introduced himself and said that he was Chaim from Ir Amim and knew many of the women from Machsom.
One small and rather funny vignette....I saw our coffee vendor running towards the cages and bringing someone his morning coffee on a tray. I asked him if he also provided room service or machsom service.