Qalandiya, Monday afternoon, 10.1.2011
Apparently, due to the chaos last week, people must be trying to stay away from Qalandiya CP. There were very few pedestrians in the old CP and the lines were short and moved rapidly. The new CP for bus passengers also appeared to be operating more or less efficiently. Lines there were not long and it looked as though the buses were waiting only a short time. In the vehicle CP, the lines were shorter than usual.
After only a short wait in the old CP (2 passageways were active), we emerged in the bus parking lot where we saw a large white pick-up truck parked by the curb, driver at the wheel. We walked over to see what, if anything, was happening and were greeted with a broad smile by the driver, Saffa, who seemed pretty bored. He told us that his job was to serially visit various CPs (we have never seen him before) to see how they were working, to recommend improvements, etc. He informed us that the waiting time at Qalandiya had shortened considerably. He said he had given his phone number to people in the CP and told them to phone him the minute they emerged and got on the bus. On the strength of his findings he told us that the passage time at Qalandiya was about 7 or 8 minutes, even at the height of the morning's crowding. Frankly, his "findings" seem more appropriate to some "celestial" Qalandiya and not to the terrestrial one so well known to all of us. Saffa also told us that 14,000 people passed through Qalandiya every day. (In our opinion, based on our most recent observations, his figures are completely out of date and perhaps reflect conditions at the CP two or three years ago.) To us it looks as though conditions at Qalandiya are so appalling that only those who must actually do use its facilities – everyone else stays away. This certainly solves the problem of "crowding."
We also spoke with a soldier and two security personnel at the exit from the bus CP. They were also quite friendly and happy to converse.