3:40 PM – We reached Qalandiya early today and found the CP almost empty with 3 active passageways and no one waiting in line. The only line was in the DCO passageway where all 6 people complained to us that the soldiers were not opening the gate. The problem seems to be that the soldiers sitting in the “aquarium” situated between two passageways serve both those crossing to Jerusalem on one side and those trying to reach the DCO offices on the other. There are always 2 soldiers in the room so it’s not clear why one can’t deal with the Jerusalem line and the other with the DCO. (In our experience, when 2 soldiers are sitting together side by side only one of them actually works while the other gives advice or demonstrates his boredom. For instance, today when we were returning to the Palestinian side of the CP from a visit to the Jerusalem side at 4:40 PM, we passed through the northbound passageway behind the backs of 2 soldiers sitting in Passageway 1. The male soldier was dealing with the people entering Jerusalem while the female soldier was reclining in her armchair, apparently either bored or tired. It wasn’t very nice to see.)
Back to the DCO, I went through the passageway to Jerusalem and told the soldiers on duty that a crowd of people were waiting to enter the DCO offices. The soldiers were very polite and told me that they had to receive instructions from the DCO before allowing clients to enter. But they immediately phoned the DCO and received instructions to allow the people in, solving the problem.
Towards the end of our shift, we were sitting in the northern shed when an elderly Palestinian gentlemen came over and thanked us profusely for coming to the CP and taking an interest in conditions in Palestine.