Qalandiya, יום ב' 10.8.09, אחה"צ
15:00: Qalandiya: When we arrived at the CP at 3 PM there were very few people waiting to go through and waiting times were quite short. Two passageways were working. The waiting area in the northern shed smelled very badly of urine. The toilet facilities have been closed continuously almost since the terminal was opened, in spite of the fact that the terminal serves thousands of people a day (or used to). Considering that the State of Israel views Qalandiya as a border crossing, or so we were told, it is surprising that it does not devote some attention to the condition of its facilities.
At the entrance to one of the passageways a woman, about 45 years old, was sitting on the floor. Her cousin was standing next to her. The two of them had been trying to get to Jerusalem for the past two hours. They had in their hands a note from Hadassah Hospital that the woman's son, a builder, had fallen on Sunday from the house he was building and was lying in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. They had tried to get to the DCO offices to get a permit to visit the son but the (female) soldier on duty had refused to let them through on the strength of the note from Hadassah. (Since when do the soldiers in the passageways have the leeway to decide who can and cannot enter the DCO offices?) Natanya spoke to the son's employer who told her not to alarm the woman but that her son had fallen from the 5th storey and there was not much hope that he would survive. I only hope that the soldier who refused to let them go to the DCO office had no idea what she was doing, but it shows that soldiers do not view Palestinians as fellow human beings and do not even listen to what they say.
Finally, we called the CP Headquarters and asked them to put us through to the DCO representative (Tiran). Immediately on hearing what we had to say he sent someone to escort them to the DCO and arrange a permit for the two of them. They were on their way to hospital in less than an hour (although it was 3 hours since they arrived in Qalandiya). We only hope that they got there in time.
Meanwhile we spent some time in the northern entry shed obtaining signatures of two Palestinians who were requesting a court ruling rescinding the "manu'a" status attributed them by the General Security Services ("Shabak"). A "manu'a" may not receive a work permit to work in Israel for security reasons. The declarations signed by the two told that both were the only breadwinners in large families (one with 24 people dependent on him) who desperately needed to work in Israel in order to feed them all.
After finishing our "paper work" we decided to pass through the CP to see what was transpiring in the vehicle section. On the way we met a couple. The man was confined to a wheel chair and could not get through the carousels. His wife asked the soldiers to open the "humanitarian gate".
For a change, this actually took no more than 5 minutes and the couple got through.
On our way to the vehicle CP we ran into another couple - an older woman accompanied by a younger man. The woman had just recovered from heart surgery and was apparently returning to her home in Gaza along with a large number of heavy parcels and valises. We pitched in and helped them get all their stuff through the carousels and out the other side and saw them safely to the car that was waiting to take them home.
We left Qalandiya at 5 PM and drove back to Jerusalem via Lil and Hizmeh CPs. There were no lines at these CPs and traffic was flowing smoothly.