Qalandiya

Observers: 
Virginia S, Ina P.
Feb-25-2014
|
Morning

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Translation: Natanya .

 

The failure (amongst other things) of the administration of the humanitarian gate.

 

5.15  We arrived at the checkpoint in freezing cold, wind  and rain. The lines stretched to deep into the parking lot. Only 3 out of 5 windows were open and the progress was exceedingly slow. We immediately phoned the operation room to task that all 5 windows be opened and the young (by her voice) and pleasant woman soldier explained to us that too many people had arrived.  Very patiently we explained to her that one could not blame the Palestinians to whom the state of Israel had given work permits to enter Jerusalem and that these people came to the checkpoint at the time that was printed on their permit. And that one could not blame the Palestinians, residents of Jerusalem from the suburb of Kufur Akab  when it was the State of Israel which had built a wall  which divided them from their town and that in spite of that they were trying to live a normal lift, going to work, going to school, to the institutes of health, etc.  The origin of the problem stems from another source: The small number of windows serving the population at peak hour in the morning.

It seemed that someone else received this claim as at 5.25 another window was opened and after another few phone calls to the operation room (and the explanations of the soldier of a lack of manpower (womanpower?_ which we are used to from previous weeks.  The rate of the checking was not uniform. We checked out two sleeves with a stopper. One looks 20 seconds to a person and at the one next it to one complete minute. Interesting why there is this big difference.  And once again we state that it would help if there was active supervision of the soldiers who works these windows.

5.35 The police man entered the checkpoint and was immediately swallowed up into the aquarium  and as far as we could judge, that was the extent of his duties.

At 6.00 we phoned the humanitarian line to inform them that there was already a large crowd of people at the gate and to ask the soldier or captain of the DCO to come and open it. The woman captain of the DCO arrived after 15 minutes  and was also immediately swallowed into the aquarium and there she stayed. At 6.30 after we had made more phone calls to the humanitarian line a guard very slowly made his way to the checkpoint  and when he entered the captain exited and  first of all started checking the permits of those at the humanitarian gate. After another 5 minutes she opened the gate but then kept the people in the inside area for another 5 minutes so that they waited three times in succession ( and some of them up to 45 minutes). Next to the age, inside the area and then next to the entrance to the sleeveinfo-icon to be checked  Afterwards the gate was opened at 6.47, 7.05, 7.10 and 7,22. And each time those who went through again waited in the inside area. The checking also at the window number 5 was also very slow.

At 6.40  a policeman whom who we know to be aggressive arrived but he makes an effort to administer the affairs of the checkpoint. He saw the state of affairs, put a barrier between sleeves 4 and 5  so that 5 should only be for those coming through the humanitarian gate and in principle stopped men with permits to pass through the humanitarian gate (that is teachers). Dafke when the students arrived at the checkpoint in large numbers he ordered all the people to join the lines which pass through the “cages”  because the humanitarian gate would not open again. There was no point in complaining about this decision because even before when we had asked to discuss another matter with him both the policeman and the woman captain refused to acknowledge our presence.

The policeman also punished a teacher who requested our help when he was blocked at the gate. The man was very pressured because as he said the DCO had been phoned. We phoned the soldier on duty  with the ID number of the teacher. The soldier confirmed that he was eligible to go through and we asked the soldier to contact the woman captain so as to sort the matter out. I do not know what happened afterwards between the soldier and the captain  but when the teacher again asked to speak to the policeman the latter answered  him in Hebrew ( a language that the teacher does not understand). “Not when you stand next to them,” meaning us. We moved backwards but the damage had been done  and in the end the teacher despaired (and was under great pressure) and went to one of the lines at the cages.  The man phoned us several times in the day to try to ensure that he would be able to pass by the humanitarian gate the next day and on other days as if anyone could promise him that he would not meet up with the same arbitrary behavior on other days at Qalandiya.

In summary: This experience of the morning of 25.2.2104 again shows the absolute failure of the humanitarian gate. There were long lines still after 7.00 – the hour that the workers should already be at their work.  This is caused by the low number of windows were are open at peak time which begins at 5.00.  It is hard to understand why the authorities responsible  for the checkpoint cannot come to the very logical conclusion.  The closing of the humanitarian gate dafke at the house that the school children arrive at the checkpoint – something which happens over and over again in the last weeks and which seems to have become the norm….is against  the policy of thethe humanitarian gatesinfo-icon  as we have been assured by the Civil Authority again and again and the behavior is distorted.