We reached Qalandiya CP at about 3:50 PM and found three passageways operating with no lines to speak of. On the other hand, six men were waiting in Passageway 5 leading to the DCO offices. They claimed they had been waiting for two hours. We phoned headquarters and explained what was happening and before we closed the phone the turnstile opened and 4 of the 6 men were allowed to enter the examination area. Of the 2 remaining men, one was from Gaza. He approached us and told us that he had just completed chemotherapy at a hospital in Nablus and that the DCO had notified the hospital that a permit to transit Israel on his way to Gaza was waiting for him at the offices. On his release from hospital he had come straight to Qalandiya CP and had been waiting in line ever since. The man appeared to be very weak and was not looking very well. We couldn’t understand why he was being treated in this manner and we called headquarters immediately. They in turn called the soldiers in the passageway who opened the turnstile and let the last two men in.
One young man from the group of 4 who entered first came back out. When we asked him what had happened he told us that he had lost hisID card and had only a magnetic photo-ID card in hand. Once again we phoned and asked to speak with the DCO representative to request that she help the young man solve his problem. She said that she could not order the soldiers in the passageway to let someone in, only ask them, but she promised she would try. Our young man entered the examination area once again and this time, after Yardena’s intervention, he was allowed to continue into the DCO offices. It seems strange that the soldiers on duty make these decisions and cannot be overridden by officers of the DCO? We wanted to ask about this and also find out why the 6 men had been kept waiting on line. So I passed into Passageway 4 (served by the same 2 soldiers). But the soldiers in the “aquarium” to whom I presented my papers would not talk to me. They just checked my papers and looked at me without answering my questions. It was as if they were afraid they would be punished for speaking with someone from MW.
We waited a while until we saw the man from Gaza emerge from the DCO and get on line to enter Jerusalem. We left the CP when we saw he had gotten through.