Qalandiya

Observers: 
Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting) with a guest, Varda
23/12/2013
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Afternoon

4 pm –There were very few people at the CP when we arrived:  three passageways were operating with 5 people standing in line in each one.  No one was waiting in the DCO shed.  At the western end of the CP we could see that the line for bus passengers was very long.  We counted at least 30 people standing there.  During the beginning of our shift, there were no special problems but at about 4:30 PM we saw a woman (of about 40) with her young daughter (about 14) coming out of passageway 4 after the soldier on duty refused them entry to Israel.  It turned out that the two were from the Gaza Strip and that the daughter had been hospitalized for an operation in Ramallah.  She had just been released from hospital and the two were trying to make their way home to Gaza.  The soldiers on duty had not opened the DCO passageway for them to apply for entry permits and so they had tried their luck in passageway 4 without permits.  A young Palestinian man was also standing in the passageway.  He was an employee of the PA and had come to see his father safely through the CP (also on his way home to Gaza).  He immediately signed on to help the woman and her daughter, making phone calls to anyone who could help.  We did the same, mainly trying to make contact with the DCO representative somewhere in the CP.  We finally contacted an officer named Yarden who got the two women into the DCO offices where they were issued the proper permits.  (So it’s not clear who was responsible for achieving the desired result, the Palestinian man or the MW team.)  In any event, the two women returned to passageway 4 with the appropriate papers but the (female) soldier in the “aquarium” did not let them through immediately but shouted at them in Hebrew (which they did not understand) and made them take off their shoes, walking around barefoot on the freezing floor (even though the daughter had just been released from hospital and looked quite weak).  We phoned Yarden once again and she promised to speak to the soldier.   And finally the two got through the CP and were on their way home.  We left Qalandiya at 5 pm.