Qalandiya, 7/2/2011, AM
Translator: Charles K.
We arrived at the Qalandiya checkpoint at 06:20. The line stretched to the parking lot, and the noise and shouting reached to the skies. We entered and saw the waiting room full of hundreds, if not thousands of people pushing, yelling and angry that the gates are locked.
We called the DCO and the officer at the crossing explained that “the computers are down.” That doesn’t matter to the laborers, of course; they’re trying to reach their rides and workplace before 7 AM. They’ll lose a day of work. Many of those we spoke to said they’ve been there since 4 or 5 AM.
Many gave up and left, no-one bothering to tell them what was happening and why it was closed…
We’re talking about people who sleep barely 3-4 hours a night. They arrive here in the middle of the night in order to cross on time.
At 06:50the checkpoint opened and everyone who was still there began to go through.
The humanitarian gate was operating the whole time. The DCO officer made sure of it, and it works better without the police.
We moved to where residents of Jerusalemcross. A seven-minute minibus ride. We entered; here, too, people weren’t being allowed through because the female soldier decided she didn’t like one of the pupils and told him to go back. He refused, and the line got held up for half an hour. The checkpoint was guarded by the same crazy soldier that Ivonne ran into. He yelled and cursed at us, at Arabs, and was, continually and disturbingly, definitely insulting and provocative. No one was there to get rid of him or put him in his place. The female soldier allowed people through one by one, not in threes, and when we came in prevented us from crossing – on instructions from the crazy soldier, I assume. We left because we didn’t want to cause any more delays for people who had already waited on line for 40 minutes.
We called the Qalandiya commander, Ahsan. I reported what was happening and he promised to investigate immediately. We called again ten minutes later and he told us that it was being taken care of. Let’s hope it was.
The situation this morning was very bleak, and indicated once again how explosive and unresolved are conditions at the checkpoints.