Qalandiya, Mon 29.4.13, Afternoon

Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)

We arrived at Qalandiya at 15:45.  There was a small line in Passageway 1.  All the other passageways were empty, but we noticed that 2 soldiers were sitting in the aquarium at 4-5.  We stationed ourselves near the turnstile and the soldiers immediately let us in.  We asked them to announce that their passageway was also open and they did so even before we finished asking.  The male soldier was very friendly, but his female counterpart had a problem with our presence.  She couldn’t understand how we had arrived from the Palestinian side of the CP and repeatedly said that she was responsible for our safety.  We gave a short lecture on MW and continued on our way.

A bit later we saw a woman pushing an invalid in a wheel chair.  Instead of dealing with the turnstiles and locked gatesinfo-icon inside the CP, she used the roadway to Ramallah and went straight through the vehicle CP – a much simpler route.  The soldiers and security personnel in the CP didn’t try to prevent her from crossing (as they have in the past). 

At about 4 PM, an ambulance arrived from Ramallah and drove straight into the CP.  He waited there for about 20 minutes in the summer heat, but no ambulance arrived from Jerusalem.  The soldiers told him that he must continue waiting outside the CP in the northern square.  And just as he finished parking in the square, two ambulances arrived from Jerusalem and another one arrived from the north.  One of the Jerusalem ambulances drove through the CP and parked in the parking lot.  This was a bit confusing, but in the end it turned out that there are new procedures in place and ambulances returning patients released from hospitals in Jerusalem to the PA are allowed to execute the transfer on the Palestinian side.  But ambulances bringing patients for treatment in Jerusalem must make the exchange on the Jerusalem side.

At 4:45 we noticed a Palestinian woman waiting in the DCO Passageway.  It turned out that her sister was waiting in the DCO shed but was not being taken care of.  We phoned Alon, the DCO representative, who had already left Qalandiya.  He promised to phone the DCO office and tell the soldiers to take care of the woman and another man waiting with her.  And he kept his promise – within 2 minutes the two were called into the office.  We left before we found out what happened.