Qalandiya, Mon 31.10.11, Afternoon

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Yael S. and Phillis V. (reporting)

Yael and I met up in the traffic jam in the southern square, where we were stuck for 25 minutes before we reached the CP.  The southern square was the most crowded part of the CP yesterday.  The northern shed was more or less empty and only a very few people stood in line in the two active passageways.  On the other hand, we observed quite a long line of people waiting at the entrance to the examination area in the western end of the CP for bus passengers holding blue ID cards of Jerusalem residents.  The situation described above was unchanged during all of our shift.

As there was not much to do at the CP, Yael, who doesn't usually get to Qalandiya, decided to make face-to-face acquaintance with the team of soldiers who operate the DCO office at Qalandiya.  The 2 soldiers in the aquarium of Passageway 5 checked with the DCO and told us that we didn't have permission to enter.  So Yael phoned the Humanitarian Hotline which put her through to the officer in charge.  He said that he would see us in 10 minutes and told the soldiers to let us through. 

The 10 minute wait took 30 minutes which we passed in the DCO offices, talking with 2 Palestinian men who were also waiting.  One of them, the owner of a supermarket in Ramallah, told us proudly of his two sons – one studying to be a doctor in Germany and the other studying dentistry in Jordan.  Although he could take care of his problems at the Palestinian DCO in A-Ram, he preferred to come directly to the DCO at Qalandiya where you can finish your business on the spot. 

When the officer on duty finally found the time, he invited us for a talk in his office which, hopefully, will be useful as well as interesting.