Qalandiya, 31.1.2011. PM

Observers: 
Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)
31/01/2011
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Afternoon

We reached Qalandiya shortly after 3 PM.  The weather was terrible, which apparently was the reason for the fact that very few people were out and about.  The approach roads to the CP were relatively empty (even the approach from Ramallah) and the pedestrian CP was practically deserted.  Only a handful of people were standing in Passageway No. 1 and, when the soldiers announced that it had been closed, they moved silently to Passageway 4.
However, we noticed that there was quite a crowd of people waiting in the shed outside the DCO offices at this late hour.  We tried our luck and, to our surprise, the carousel was open. The soldiers in the aquarium only asked us to pass our bags through the x-ray machine and didn't prevent us from entering the shed.  We spent the rest of our shift in the shed talking to those waiting to renew their magnetic (biometric) cards – just about everyone.  Some asked us to help them solve various problems with the authorities and others just told us about the difficulties of life under the Occupation.  We phoned the DCO representative, Ichsan, twice.  He was not on duty but he called the soldiers and saw to it that things progressed more rapidly.
We left Qalandiya just before 5 PM and returned to Jerusalem via Lil/Jabba and Hizmeh CPs.  At Lil the soldiers had tucked themselves snugly into their positions, out of the cold and rain.  Traffic was flowing.