Qalandiya

Place: 
Observers: 
Natanya G. and Marcia L. (Reporting)
Feb-16-2014
|
Morning

When we arrived at 5:10, the line was outside and into the parking lot again.  As was the case two weeks ago, there was no shouting, no screaming.  The quiet was eerie.  When I asked if the line had moved, the workers all answered no.  When we looked through the gatesinfo-icon, we saw that only four of the checking gates were open.  They were just moving slowly.

I spoke to the young female soldier who came out of the aquarium to smoke.  We told her she needed to call the DCO office and to ask for help to open the fifth inspection gate.  She said they had no one to send to the fifth gate.

I immediately called the DCO at Qalandiya and told what sounded like a young man at the other end of the phone, that the lines were stretching into the middle of the parking lot.  He asked, "Now?"  I answered. "Yes.  Right now!”  He promised he would look into it immediately.  In the meantime, we called Anan (DCO officer at Kalandia) and Alaa (another DCO officer at Kalandia).  Anan didn't answer and Alaa said he was not on duty. He told me to call the DCO. Both Natanya and I tried, but no one answered.  

At 5:30, a young female policewoman, who was clearly in charge this morning, came to the aquarium.  When she saw the long lines, she immediately had the soldier in the aquarium open the carousels at a faster pace so that the lines moved faster.  This young policewoman was actually very efficient and kept coming out of the aquarium to see how well everything was moving.  We were both impressed.  We did not try to speak with her again so as not to antagonize her.  She was clearly doing her job.

At 6:00 a lone soldier (without a second soldier and without any security guard behind him or supporting him) came out and began to let people through the Humanitarian Gate.  He opened the gate frequently, before a lot of people gathered.  This was the earliest we have seen the Humanitarian Gate open in many months.  What was surprising is that the soldier was totally alone all morning.  There was no second soldier or additional security guards at all.

 

By 6:30 there was no long line and most of the workers had gone through.   Before we left, we complimented both the policewoman in charge and the soldier at the Humanitarian Gate.  It is possible to solve the problem of the crowding in the morning and it is possible to make the lives of the workers easier at Kalandia.  It would just take the willingness of the Civil Authority to provide the number of personnel needed at Kalandia in the mornings and to open all five gates.