Qalandiya CP, Monday afternoon, 14.3.2011

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Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)




 We arrived at Qalandiya a bit earlier than usual because, due to other obligations, we planned to leave early as well.  We expected to see the CP empty before 3 PM, but boy were we wrong.  All four passageways were full of people many of whom told us that they had been waiting for hours.  Nothing was moving.  We saw quite a few people giving up their places at the head of the lines in despair and angrily leaving the CP.  We started to phone headquarters and the Humanitarian Hotline.  Soldiers who answered our calls explained, again and again, that the unit manning the CP had been replaced by new soldiers and that it would take some time for them to learn their new job.  This was not much consolation to the hundreds waiting at the CP after finishing their day's work or studies, nor to those anxiously waiting to get through the CP in order to get to their jobs in Jerusalem.  We finished our shift at Qalandiya at 4 PM without seeing any improvement in the situation.  Just as when we arrived, all the lines were full and another long line extended across the northern shed.  Several people developed the theory that conditions at Qalandiya represented collective punishment for the murder of the Fogel family in the Itamar Settlement on Friday night, a theory that was rejected when others told us that the situation at Qalandiya has been this way since Friday morning with no improvement in sight.

 We tried to help those waiting to enter the DCO offices in Passageway 5.  We met a male nurse who works in Augusta Victoria Hospital.  He was on his way to work when the soldiers in Passageway 4 confiscated his permit to enter Israel.  The man told us that he has been working in various hospitals in Jerusalem for the past 10 years without any problem.  Two weeks ago he was suddenly detained in one of the passageways and taken for a meeting with a member of the Security Services (Israel's FBI), a man who called himself "Abu Youssef", who played a cat and mouse game with him, asking again and again "What do you want Abu Youssef to do for you?".  The man told "Abu Youssef" that he didn't want anything, he just wanted to work and earn a living to feed his family.  "Abu Youssef" told him that there was no problem and, for a period of two weeks, all was as before – until Monday, March 14.  When we tried to find out what had happened, a soldier from the DCO told us that the man had been designated a security risk by the Security Services and could not enter Jerusalem.  And how will he get to work, and how will be feed his children?  That's his problem