'Anata-Shuafat, Qalandiya, Tue 3.1.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Qalandiya – 5:45
A cold morning, no congestion. 200 people waiting on line outside for the three revolving gates. A short line also begins forming at the humanitarian gate. There’s also a short line within – fewer than ten people at each of the open lanes.
We meet the Norwegian ecumenical volunteer in the shed, accompanied by three observers including a representative of the British consulate in Jerusalem.
A short time later the fifth inspection lane opens.
Qalandiya – 6:15
375 people entered for inspection during the past half hour. There was never any congestion.
The humanitarian gate opened at 6:05, and continued opening and closing until there was no longer a line outside. People going through the humanitarian gate are sent to inspection lane number 5, while the others are sent to lanes 1-4.
Qalandiya – 6:45
360 people entered for inspection during the past half hour. There’s no longer a line outside.
We asked people whether schools are on vacation, or whether there’s some holiday. We didn’t get a clear answer, but it was evident that today there was very little demand for the checkpoint’s services.
Since there was no longer anyone under the canopy we decided to see what was happening at the new Anata checkpoint.
Anata – 7:15
The drive to Anata was easy, almost no cars on the road. Normally at this hour thousands of settlers and Palestinians drive south on Highway 60 in a slowly-moving traffic jam.
The changes in the landscape at Anata were obvious. The wall had been lengthened and crossed the old road. The previous checkpoint had stood in the middle of that road. The new checkpoint had been erected a short distance south of the old one. The residents had been promised that electronic inspections wouldn’t be conducted here, just those that had been carried out at the old checkpoint, and that’s what’s being done.
A parking lot had been created on the right, which was almost completely full of cars. We saw the vehicle checkpoint in front of us, with 3-4 inspection lanes. Only the two left-hand lanes were open. Minibuses crossed only through the leftmost lane. A soldier and a security person enter each minibus. The soldier checks the passengers’ documents. The crossing goes quickly;the passengers don’t get out of the vehicle and don’t have to be inspected at the pedestrian crossing.
A young officer approaches us to explain where the pedestrian crossings are located. Two fenced pedestrian lanes have been established in the northern area of the checkpoint – one for entry, the other for exit.
When we asked the officer about procedures for inspecting schoolchildren, he smiled broadly: “…The pupils are on vacation until Thursday. When they return, come see for yourselves…”
We crossed to the other side of the checkpoint through the fenced lane. We saw another parking area to our left. The vehicle lane wasn’t congested so we decided to return immediately to the Jerusalem side.
We entered the sole inspection lane. A scanner covered in plastic sheeting stands in a corner opposite the inspection window. There’s no electronic inspection of any kind. People show their ID’s and go through.