Qalandiya, Wed 10.11.10, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
A new parking lot has opened a short distance before the southern plaza, which solves a problem: drivers leave their cars there and continue north without them in order to avoid the chaos at the checkpoint, particularly on the way back. Cost: 10 shekels a day. The lot is full.
Fenced corridors no. 1, 2, and 4 are open. The waiting area in front of each is full. The cages are empty.
People arriving at the checkpoint for the first time have trouble locating an open cage. Veterans first try the one on the left. Newcomers start at the right. Enter. Exit. Enter. Exit. Success.
It’s after 16:00. The shaded area is absolutely filthy and stinking, to the greater glory of this place and those who run it.
Today clothes are on sale – three for 10 shekels. Also baklava and house slippers.
A long line of cars in the northern plaza, heading south.
It took us 30 minutes to return through fenced corridor no. 1. A young woman in line who goes to school in Ramallah: “How long you wait depends on how the soldiers feel.” She crosses here every day. “The soldiers usually harass and humiliate us. I understand they’re fulfilling their obligation to their country, but why do they have to humiliate us? It’s even worse during our holidays. People younger than 18 are allowed to remain on the bus when it goes through the checkpoint. The soldiers don’t adhere to this rule and make us cross on foot. Come tomorrow – you’ll see what a madhouse there will be on the anniversary of Arafat’s death. No. On second thought, you’d better not come. It could be dangerous for you. Your army is killing our children in Gaza. You treat pets better than that. You’re severely criticized in the foreign press.”
The gate in the wall is open to A-Ram (it’s about 17:00). The Border Policeman inspecting the cars entering A-Ram refuses to answer us. Ignores us completely. Drivers arriving at the southern plaza today can choose between entering A-Ram or continuing toward Ramallah. And tomorrow?