Qalandiya, Wed 27.4.11, Afternoon
Ruthi B., Hanna T.
"Only the doves can pass. Maybe one day they’ll tell the doves: you from the territories – don’t pass..."
You can copy all the headings from previous reports. At Qalandia nothing changes: the harassment, the time wasted, the transparent people who pass here once and twice a day. The method works, but between that and security there is no connection.
15:30 – the southern plaza is "blocked" with cars.
15:40 – at the pedestrian crossing three sleeves are open and at the entrance to the DCO two are waiting for a magnetic card. The intercom to the DCO is broken, and we checked by phone whether the two would be let in, or whether they are waiting for nothing. The answer: "Let them wait... Maybe..."
Those standing in line are waiting quietly, the indifference of acceptance. No conversations, no muttering. The female soldier responsible for the crossing for some reason lets them wait a long time in the narrow, humiliating cage, even though the lines are not long. Is this a change in the name of checkpoint aesthetics, or is it just another small abuse. From the other side families are returning from prison visits.
The usual ceremony takes place as we observe the vehicle lane from the fence. The soldier in the watchtower shouts the usual orders and calms down when we don’t move. In the distance, at the blue identity card lane, a long crowded line.
For a change, there are random checks of cars driving northwards, which doesn’t exactly speed up the daily traffic jam. Each check of an identity card is done by a soldier accompanied by two armed security men.
16:10 – in the north plaza pillows decorate the blocking arm, the children are selling and everyone is trying to make a living from nothing. Cold drink, flags of Barcelona (soccer), an abandoned armchair and a wagon for sale of drinks, fresh tomatoes.
We decided this time to cross in the pedestrian lane which seems very crowded. Have to take a minibus (5 shekels) to cross the 20 metres to the entrance.
16:40 – about 30 waiting. The line progresses very slowly and there are complaints about attitude and disregard ("they relate to us as animals," the soldiers check slowly out of boredom).
Only the checkpoint children have their own laws. The little one, perhaps six years old, sells the water, succeeds in crossing on foot! Comic relief. Now starts the game of hide and seek between him and the brave soldiers. He hides among the people and only collective punishment (stopping transit for everyone) convinces people to cooperate and place him in the hands of the armed soldier. An older well dressed man is sent back – it becomes cklear that he has a Territories id card, and how could he know? After all, there are no signs. I was reminded of "they know" in the checkpoint dictionary.
17:20 – we emerge after a thorough checks of our identity cards. All told 40 minutes. To our surprise, the man sent back appears before our eyes. He passed faster at the second crossing...
It again proves that uncertainty is the permanent component of the daily routine of transients here. And routine – there is no routine.