Qalandiya, Fri 19.7.13, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Qalandiya, second Friday of Ramadan
Only a video could fully portray the masses on their way to the buses.
At 10:00 the women’s crossing is congested. Men unfamiliar with Qalandiya who go there are sent to the men’s crossing, unless they’re in a wheelchair.
There are no signs or instructions about who should go where. Here and there women insist on taking through children who are older that the criteria allow.
Women go through two screenings; men go through three.
- The Palestinian police.
- Border Police soldiers, the lane through the concrete barriers.
- Before reaching the checkpoint, people about whom there are doubts or who have a permit must pass through the revolving gates; the others bypass the checkpoint.
10:44 At the men’s crossing. The concrete barriers have been moved closer to the first crossing.
Many people are refused entry, sent back to the “revolving door.” The soldiers yell to identify them: “The one with a checked shirt – doesn’t go through; black shirt doesn’t go through; the one with the Nike cap has been here since the morning, he wants to make trouble, he looks like shit…”, direct people left or right. Each of us deals with her feelings about what we saw today in her own way.
The Border Police soldier asks the Palestinian police in the line of those refused entry not to talk to them. Some cases are painful. Like the man with difficulty seeing, leaning on his son. But the son “doesn’t meet the criteria” and is sent back. He spent an hour on the phone hoping another relative would come, but finally gave up. Or a father with his two small children. The mother reached Jerusalem a while ago; he’s a few months shy of the age people are allowed through to pray; they’re sitting next to the wall, exhausted, disappointed.
Everything’s so well organized, orderly, like clockwork, but it’s still hard to see people going to worship in the face of guns, families divided, forced to wait for one another, sometimes in vain. If a minor is refused entry the parent must see that he gets back home on his own – who knows to where. Everyone wants to pray, is willing to try, maybe they’ll be lucky and get through despite the rules.
And a final word about the close and efficient cooperation between soldiers of the moral army and the Palestinian police officers. It depends how you look at it.
It closes as 12:30 approaches. There was no need for the “skunk water” vehicle or the horses at the ready!