Qalandiya, Tue 6.9.11, Morning
Once again long lines (we estimate over 200 people) extend to outside the covered waiting area, and a large crowd (of 30-40) stands in front of the Humanitarian Gate when we arrive at 6:15. A familiar colleague from the World Council of Churches’ EAPPI program who has been at the checkpoint since 5:00 informs us (and we have no reason to doubt him, as we have seen an earlier instance of the same with our own eyes) that the woman soldier responsible for opening the turnstiles was in a deep sleep before the shift changed at 6 a.m. – and thus the heavy backup this morning. We call the Humanitarian Hotline and the DCO to ask about the absence of a Civil Administration officer -- and thus the Humanitarian Gate not being operated – and one arrives soon thereafter. Speaking fluent Arabic, he queries every male at the Humanitarian Gate about his age before letting groups of people though. For the most part, however, the gate is opened each time about 7-10 people are gathered in front of it. In contrast, the three turnstiles are opened less often. And although all five checking stations are open, the long lines leading into the cage-like passages persist until well after 7:00. A man whose cell number we took at 6:30, when he was standing at the end of one of the three lines, subsequently told us that it took him 55 minutes to traverse the checkpoint. When we leave at 7:15, all three passages remain full.
From what we could see (and were told) upon arrival, the lack of supervision – at least of the soldier responsible for opening the turnstiles – prior to the arrival of a CA officer sometime after 6:00 (and that sometimes only after we have called the DCO) continues to be the source of early-morning problems. We have commented on this a number of times, to no avail. Can it be that no one cares?