Qalandiya, Tue 12.4.11, Morning
Another bad morning at Qalandiya:
It was quite cold and windy and long lines were leading into all three sleeves and the Humanitarian Gate when we arrived at 6:10 a.m. The Humanitarian Gate first opened at 6:30, after we called the Humanitarian Hotline to report on the crowd waiting there. But it then opened on an average of every 10 minutes, allowing everyone waiting at the time through it, until we left at 7:30.
The movement through the three sleeves was particularly slow, and there was considerable frustration and anger among those waiting. All five checking stations were operating. The only explanation for the slow pace ― given by the deputy commander of the DCO, during our phone call to him ― was that a new unit was operating that day (which seems to be the standard reason given on particularly slow days). At two different times, we took phone numbers from men standing at the end of the line to see how long it would take them to get through the checkpoint. It took the first 1 hour and 50 minutes, the second (who started later) 2 hours and 5 minutes. One can appreciate the anger.
We learned that the manager of the Atarot Industrial Zone is holding a meeting with employers this afternoon about obtaining special passes for workers to come through the checkpoint during the closure on Hol Hamoed Pesach. We have his phone number and will follow up with him tomorrow.