Qalandiya, Mon 21.11.11, Afternoon

Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)

14:45:  Despite the cold and the threatening clouds, the peddlers in the northern square were out in full strength.  It seems that the smaller the number of people using the pedestrian CP at Qalandiya, the larger the number of peddlers (both adults and children) selling their wares in the northern square, mostly to passengers of cars stuck in the interminable traffic jam.

In the northern shed, only a few people were sitting in almost total darkness thanks to the shortness of daylight hours and the fact that our forces do not replace the light bulbs that burn out in the ceiling fixtures meant to cast a little light on the surroundings.

Inside the CP three passageways were operating with a line of less than 10 people in each.  We asked someone emerging from the DCO offices and he replied that there was no one left inside.  We returned to the northern CP entrance from where we could see that the western CP for bus passengers was very full.  Later on we met some people who, fed up with waiting on line in that terminal, had come to try their luck in the old CP.  They reported that the line in the bus terminal was very long.

A bus was parked in the old CP parking lot.  It had returned to Qalandiya the families who had been visiting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.  On their arrival the northern shed filled with village women wearing long black dresses decorated with colorful embroidery and accompanied by crowds of children.

We hadn't noticed, but suddenly discovered that one of the passageways had been closed, leaving only two active.  As 5 o'clock approached, a larger number of people began to arrive at the CP.  Suddenly we heard the soldiers in passageway 4 announce that it was closing down.  We phoned headquarters who assured us that the soldiers were just changing shifts and the passageway would reopen at 5 PM.  In the end, the passageway remained open and the soldiers continued their shift.