The lines leading to the first turnstiles are short when we arrive at Qalandia at 6:05. A Civil Administration officer is already on the scene, and the Humanitarian Gate is operating (and continues to open each time a woman, an elderly man, or a few people congregate in front of it). But soon the lines leading to the first turnstiles build up and extend to outside the covered waiting, while those in the “sleeves” of all five checking stations are quite short. After our arrival, the turnstiles are not opened for a full 15 minutes, during which one can sense the impatience and tension rising on the waiting lines. The woman soldier in charge of opening the turnstiles is thoroughly absorbed in eating her breakfast, while the CA officer present at the Humanitarian Gate is either ignoring or satisfied with the situation of long, stuck lines leading to the turnstiles.
In a brief conversation with a security guard, we impart our observed benefit of allowing many people at once through the turnstiles. This admittedly leads to long lines entering the “sleeves,” but getting through the first turnstile seems to ease the psychological pressure on those traversing the checkpoint. Shortly thereafter, the CA officer speaks with the woman soldier responsible for opening the three first turnstiles, and she allows some 75 people through them at once. Thereafter, she opens them approximately every 3-4 minutes, until the narrow, cage-like passageways are empty, and at 6:45 she leaves the turnstiles open for newcomers to pass through freely as they arrive. This is the situation when we leave at 6:55.