An encouraging morning in Qalandiya:
5:15: Only three out of five inspection booths were open and the lines stretched out into the parking area. Calling the Matak, the response was the recently usual: "limited working force available…" On the other hand, the progress of the lanes was relatively better than usual and the people on line showed a lower measure of anger and despair. One person confirmed that on the previous day the passage was indeed easier.
The fourth inspection booth was opened at 5:55, the fifth at 6:00 and the pace of passage was duly improved. At 6:00 the Matak officer we had met some weeks ago negated that the cause for the delayed opening of inspection booths was "limitations of working force" and put the blame on computer difficulties. Thus, the actual intention was to have opened the booths before 6:00. We reiterated the importance of opening up at 5:00. The officer suggested that the number of passers-through was different by the day, which probably accounted for the previous day's ease of passage. At 6:10 a Matak soldier whom we knew as serious and efficient arrived, opened the Humanitarian gate, and did so again whenever necessary. He agreed that end-January – February was a difficult period at the CP. But that on days as today, with three checking posts that had been operating since before 6:00, it would be past the peak by 7:00 or 7:15.(vs. nearly 8:00 on Tuesdays of previous weeks). He stayed on to see the result.
It was even better than he had predicted: at 6:45 the lines were dissolving and people were directly approaching the lanes. We all agreed that in addition to the good work of the staff, daily supervision was essential at the peak hours.