Qalandiya

Place: 
Observers: 
Chana S., Ronit D. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.
Mar-19-2014
|
Morning

It’s crowded but quiet this morning at Qalandiya

 

When we arrived at approximately 05:30 three lines already stretched into the parking lot. We made our way into the shed through the people who were standing and saw that the three fenced corridors and five inspection booths were open. People stood quietly on line; we heard no yelling nor saw people shoving or climbing on the corridor fences. There was occasionally a disturbance when the revolving gate opened at one corridor but not at another, or when a long time passed before the revolving gatesinfo-icon opened, but in general the line moved forward relatively calmly and in an orderly manner. A few women who’d arrived before the humanitarian gate opened went to the entrance to the fenced corridors; the men allowed them to enter when the revolving gate opened.

 

We saw someone photographing outside. Later he entered and came over to us. He’s from B’Tselem. We could hear cars honking outside at the vehicle crossing. Birds chirped within under the shed.

 

As the hour approached for opening the humanitarian gate at 06:00 a line of people began forming. At one point inspection booth number 5 closed, an officer and guard appeared, but the gate didn’t open and they walked back toward the DCO. Some people waiting, including a woman with a coughing infant, moved to the regular line. We called the DCO to report the humanitarian gate hadn’t opened. The officer and guard returned a few minutes later, the gate opened, but booth number 5 remained closed and people were sent to the others. Later the officer explained that the computers at booth 5 had crashed which is why they shut it and were late opening the gate. The officer let through a few groups of people who’d been waiting there, and together with the soldier in the corridor sent them to the available booths. People on the regular line, which had stopped advancing, expressed dissatisfaction. We saw no police this morning.

 

At one point the soldier decided that one of the men waiting in the corridor had threatened him (we didn’t see what happened; we noticed only because of the soldier’s reaction). The officer took the man’s ID, the soldier tried to reach someone by phone and then the officer told him to write down the man’s ID number and returned it to him. When the revolving gates opened again he went through with the others but we weren’t able to see whether they later detained him at the inspection booth.

 

At 06:45 the regular lines didn’t extend beyond the shed (they didn’t reach the parking lot); many still waited at the humanitarian gate. When the officer told them it wouldn’t reopen they moved to the regular line, but some returned to the humanitarian gate when more people had gathered there. When the revolving gates opened some went back to the regular line.

 

By 07:00 there was almost no line. We left and drove to join the line at the vehicle checkpoint. Only our IDs were checked and we crossed.