Qalandiya, Tue 7.8.12, Morning
06:00: Long queues reaching the parking lot. Scenes familiar from the past that we had nearly forgotten these recent months.
The look the Palestinians gave us implied: "where were you, see how it's all back again" But we're just as surprised as they - the passage in Ramadan was supposed to be eased. But we all know that even one small hindrance in the line can cause so much delay. All advancing slowly, the "humanitarian" queue hasn't opened yet.
The ecumenical observer told us that this was the situation from 5am – something went wrong with the inspection process. The polite and nice policeman on duty didn't seem bothered by the situation and thought all was working well. Only when the liaison (Matak) officer arrived and made some phone calls did the queue really get going – within an hour all was cleared and the men were on their way to work. By 7am passage was normal.
The vehicle barrier seems to be having an identity dilemma. In short: its aims are identical to those of Hizme – inspecting vehicles entering Jerusalem. Yet the
Settlers on their way to Jerusalem cross through Hizme! so delays and traffic jams must be prevented!
In recent months we had been required to abide by the rules set for the Palestinians: one of us could cross through in our vehicle, the second observer on foot. This was remedied following Hanna's last discussions with the Army and now we can both pass through by car. We also noticed that there was an improvement in the pace of passage in general.
This morning cars passed through fairly rapidly, and the documents were checked efficiently. But when our turn came, the soldiers were perplexed: they studied our papers, phoned the commanders, etc. Finally, two MP's came running and released us from the unknowing soldier. All were courteous and nice.