Qalandiya, Sun 13.11.11, Morning

Pnina Honigman (reporting), Rivka Panet

Translator:  Charles K.

5:30  We arrived at the checkpoint.  Three gatesinfo-icon were open at this hour and the line was already very long.  Document inspection was slow.  The length of the wait on line, over an hour, resulted in groups of people who’d lost patience bypass those standing in front of them by climbing over them on the fences.

6:00  The line at the humanitarian gate was long and congested.  We telephoned the DCO, which told us that soldiers were on their way, but they were waiting for someone from the security company (they waited almost half an hour).  Can’t they insure that “someone from the security company,” who surely receives a salary, arrives on time?

6:30  The humanitarian gate finally opens to the people massed before it: the ill, the elderly, pupils.  The humanitarian gate isn’t fulfilling its intended function; the wait is as long as at the others.  Rivka took a sick old woman by the hand and, pleading, was able to get her through before others whose condition wasn’t very good either (the sick, etc…).  And here’s another reason there’s no point to the humanitarian gate:  After people go through they have to join the same line as those going through the other gates, in the endless queues for document inspection.  We can’t access this line, so we can’t help.

As we do every Sunday, we repeatedly telephoned the DCO to request:
1.    Making document inspection more efficient so that workers aren’t delayed getting to their jobs and don’t run the risk of being fired.
2.    Permitting people who are ill, elder and schoolchildren to cross more easily so they can get to hospital and school
As usual, our repeated, urgent requests weren’t granted.

Suggests for improving the crossing:
1.    Train the document inspectors to work more efficiently, and have DCO officers supervise them.
2.    Open all five gates (not only three, at best)
3.    Open the humanitarian gate earlier, at 6:00 AM rather than at 6:30, and inspect the documents of those using it separately from those going through the other gates.