Qalandiya, Fri 30.8.13, Morning
9:00:Few people passing through the CP. At the café this was explained as a result of the happenings in the Kalandiya refugee camp, with three Palestinian casualties. Photos of the three were on the counter and we were told that the eldest casualty was 32 years old, father of four, the second casualty was a recently married 24-year-old, and the third was 17 years old.
Two lanes were open; the Humanitarian wasn't.
A severe stench (the toilets were locked, as they usually are) and garbage filled the area. The water taps were out of order (only one was operating) and Shelley (first time here), shocked by the sight, started collecting the garbage in a plastic bag!
9:10: More Palestinians arriving.
9:15: Two suit-wearing Palestinians approached us. They introduced themselves as employees of the Authority's Ministry of Information. They asked us to step inside and note how the soldiers were operating. One of them spoke Arabic, the other translated him into English. Ofra called the Matak requesting that another lane be opened, as well as the Humanitarian line. Their reply was that the commanders at the CP did not feel the pressure. To their mind, only tremendous pressure justifies the addition of another lane, even more so, the Humanitarian.
9:20: A Palestinian carrying a medical permit for hospitalization approaches the fence and tries to catch the attention of an idle soldier, but attention was declined: "get back in line", he indicated. Luckily, a very forthcoming and patient Matak girl-soldier noticed the incident, checked his permits, explained that the humanitarian line is not opened on Fridays save for pressure at prayer time, and she directed him, with his permit, to the regular lines. She remarked to us that the permit indicated that he was requested to be at the hospital only in the evening.
Notwithstanding, a third lane was launched. The lines are contracting…
German citizens - accompanied by a Palestinian - attempt to avoid standing in line. The girl-soldier took their passports and after having them checked told them to return to the normal line.
9:40: The CP is emptying. An elderly couple approaches the CP equipped with canes and collapsible stools – they've come prepared for the ordeal.
9:45: A group of women and children arrive at the CP. The kids are dressed festively, en route to a visit at the mosque. One of the women has a baby in a carriage - the carriage cannot of course cross through the narrow lane. The girl-soldier comes to the rescue and leads them through the humanitarian passageway.
The entire group was sent back as they did not have passage permits. One of the girls cried her heart out.
10:00: A lame elderly woman accompanied by her grandson had forgotten her permit at home. The girl-soldier checked the files according to the ID, found confirmation of the permit and wanted to let her through. But alas, it turned out that the grandson had no permit and would not be let through.
10:15: The CP is empty! We leave…