Qalandiya, Mon 19.8.13, Afternoon

Observers: 
Natanya G., Inbal, Phyllis W. (reporting) and a guest from Germany
19/08/2013
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Afternoon

15:30 We returned to Qalandiya from our vacation and found that not a lot had changed.  The place does look a bit cleaner – perhaps it was cleaned for Ramadan?  We met our friend Suleiman, the candy-man, standing with his pushcart in the afternoon sun just outside the CP.  He told us that in the morning several policemen had chased him away from his usual post in the shade adjacent to the northern shed of the CP, threatening to confiscate his pushcart, his only means of support.  There were almost no people inside the CP and only one passageway to Jerusalem was operating. 

Four or five people were waiting in the line for the DCO offices, including one little boy bringing some documents to his father who was already inside.  One of those waiting was the principal of a school in East Jerusalem who had come to arrange work permits for her teaching staff.  The soldiers on duty in this passageway were busy working on their computer and disregarded all those waiting in line.  We phoned the DCO representative and asked him to intervene.  He wasn’t actually at the CP, so he gave us the phone number of the representative on duty who promised to talk to the soldiers and make sure that all those waiting would be allowed in.  Unfortunately, nothing happened.  So Natanya got into the parallel passageway and explained the situation to the soldiers.  At 5 minutes to 4 PM the soldiers got the message and let everyone in.

Meanwhile, Inbal and I also went through passageway 4 to the Jerusalem side.  On our way back to “Palestine” we passed behind the backs of the two soldiers on duty in passageway 1 (the “aquarium” where they sit has windows on both sides) who had nothing to do.  Out of boredom, I suppose, one of them had taken out a racket and ball which he was whacking against the wall above his computer screen.  And just as we were looking at this scene, our eye caught a piece of graffiti scribbled on the inside of the window in lipstick (I think) so that it would be visible to Palestinians returning to the West Bank:

 

I    ♥  (Jewish star)

ISRAEL       

FOREVER    

We thought this was a bit provocative and tried to convince the soldiers to erase it, but they refused and indicated that we should leave them alone.  Later on we saw another similar piece of graffiti on one of the windows of the aquarium in passageway 1.  I hope that both pieces of graffiti are erased by the time we come back next week.