A busy morning at Qalandiya
We arrived at about 5:20. Long lines were already waiting in the parking. The hot drink stall was closed and no bagel or cake vendors had arrived – the Ramadan fast had begun. Only 3 check posts were open. When we called the DCO we were told that they would check what was going on. At 5:30 they announced that check posts 4 and 5 were open as well. The turnstiles opened and many people were let through all at once. The lines leading to the covered area and the pavement outside it became shorter, but since people keep coming at this hour, very soon lines were waiting in the parking again. Compared to the other check posts, for some reason, it always takes a longer time to pass through at check post 5. Some people gave up and moved over to the other lines.
Women who arrived from time to time joined the line from the side at the entrance to the enclosure, and the men let them in. At about 5:40 a man saying that he had to reach Hadassah was already waiting at the humanitarian gate. We explained to him that the gate opens only at 6:00. An old couple, also on their way to medical treatment, joined him. They had been standing at the closed gate for some time when we heard somebody calling us. It was H'. standing in the middle line. We went up to him and he suggested that we tell the people waiting at the gate to go to the entrance to the enclosures where they would be able to join the line, and so they did.
At 5:50 the opening of the turnstiles made it possible for the waiting people to gather in the covered area, but soon the lines got longer again. Nevertheless, the order was kept and the people were waiting quietly for their turn. At 6:00 two women and a boy were waiting at the humanitarian gate, and when it opened shortly after 6:00 a few people from the regular line joined them. It went on like this. By now the lines were not long, but when people saw that the humanitarian gate opened they came there to pass through.
We left at about 6:20. By now, the lines were only within the enclosures. For a moment, it seemed that the traffic in front of the square was less than usual, but soon we realized that it was not so. However, due to Ramadan, the coffee and food vendors who usually fill the square were missing. Only one person was trying to sell his honey jars. A male soldier, teaching a female soldier, was at the check post when we arrived. He explained something to her about our permits and said: "You're from Machsomwatch, aren't you?" We said yes, and he wished us a good day.