Qalandiya, Fri 28.9.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
At 09:00, about a hundred people crowded in front of the checkpoint. The area was dirty, with a strong stench of urine in the air. The humanitarian entrance was closed. We asked the DCO officer on site, a 2nd Lieutenant, to open it. A few minutes later it did open. All the women crossed except for two who arrived at the last minute.
The officer explained that today all women and patients with permits are allowed through the humanitarian entrance, but not the elderly. Later the humanitarian entrance opened every 15-20 minutes, and we tried to direct the women to cross there. People on line said that if Machsom Watch hadn’t been there, the humanitarian entrance wouldn’t have opened, because usually the only people allowed to use it are men and women older than 45.
Our impression was that it’s worth seeing whether it would be possible to arrange more frequent shifts on Fridays. There may be more women from the Tel Aviv area who’d be willing to go to Qalandiya on Fridays.
A man about 70 years old approached us, explaining he has high blood pressure and it’s hard for him to stand on line. I spoke to the officer who said that the man has a permit to cross for worship but he doesn’t have a medical certificate, adding “if he has high blood pressure he can stay home.” At 09:30 there were again about one hundred people crowded in front of the regular checkpoint, but all had entered after five minutes.
A young man with a baby girl a few months old approached us, saying he had to bring his daughter to the Muqasid hospital. The officer said he needs a permit from the hospital, and that it’s possible to obtain one. A few minutes later the baby’s grandfather arrived with the permit. The grandfather and infant went through the humanitarian crossing.
A family with a ten year old girl, a seven year old boy and a one year old baby approached us. The father showed us a permit from Hadassah hospital, explaining that his eldest daughter has leukemia, the son has a problem with his leg and they have to go to the hospital. We spoke to the officer who said that while they do have a permit to accompany a patient, the children’s names don’t appear on it, as required. He promised to look into it. Only about an hour later, at 10:40, after our repeated requests, the family was allowed through the checkpoint. Almost no one remained at the checkpoint by this time.