5:30 - There wasn’t a long line when we arrived but within a few minutes the three lines to enter the carousels stretched out to the parking lot. All five inspection gates were open. Our attention was drawn to the new large, white screens above each entrance to the inspection gates. On the left side of each screen was a green (or red) circle with a check mark in the middle to indicate whether that gate was open or closed. Within the circle there were also instructions in Arabic on how to proceed. On the right side of the screen was an animated Israeli flag as if it was waving. Absurd! There are no lavatories, no heat in the winter and no concern whatsoever for the “clientele” of the checkpoint; only more money spent to prove who are the owners.
5:45 - A young couple with a baby and a suitcase arrived with a permit for a hospital in Jerusalem. It was clear to us that they were in a hurry. The man asked the soldier in the aquarium to open the Humanitarian Gate but the soldier refused. As yet the soldier and security guards who are responsible for the Humanitarian Gate had not arrived. We told the couple to enter via the regular lines and then we asked the workers in line to let the couple enter. Even though all the workers were also in a hurry to get through the inspection windows, they allowed the couple and the baby to break into the line. Even then, however, the three had to wait in line until the carousel opened.
6:00 - The soldier and security guards responsible for the Humanitarian Gate arrived and opened the gate every time a number of people gathered. Because of the cold, I asked him to open the gate even for individuals but he refused. One time a woman arrived at the gate and she also asked the soldier to open the gate because of the cold. He told her he couldn’t because there was a line at the inspection gate. She told him there wasn’t a line (and actually, the line was not long) and that because of the cold, he should open the gate. The soldier then yelled at her and refused to open it. What at game! Because the woman dared to ask something of the soldier that he didn’t want to do, he punished her.
7:00 - We left when the lines were shorter and there were no people standing at the Humanitarian Gate. It was a morning that proved to us once again that there is no sensitivity toward the Palestinians who have to pass through Qalandiya.