Qalandiya

Observers: 
Observers: Chana S., Ronit D. (reporting); Translator: Judith Green
17/12/2014
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Morning

We parked before the checkpoint and went through on foot.  At the entrance in the direction of Qalandiya there was a large group of people in the middle of their morning prayers.  We waited for them to finish and went in.

 

We were happy to see that, at the hour of 5:15, all 5 staitons were already operating.  There were moderate and well-organized lines.  For the few women who had arrived it was possible to join in the lines at the entrance to the enclosures.  As time passed, the lines got longer, since so many people had arrived, but the organization was maintained.  Here and there were individuals or small groups of people praying.  Next to the bagel seller there was a prayer rug resting on the back of a bench which someone would take and use every once in a while and then return it.

 

At 5:40, a policeman and policewoman showed up.  At about 6, people started gathering next to the Humanitarian Gate.  Still, most of the women chose to join in the regular line at the entrance to the enclosures.

 

At about 6:10, the officer arrived and opened the Humanitarian Gate.  A guard and policeman accompanied him. The policeman checked the permits of the men, to verify if they were qualified to pass through the Humanitarian Gate.  He turns back quite a few.  Nevertheless, people try, because the regular lines are very long.  Some of those who had been refused turn to us, but we explained that we couldn't help with this.  Here and there were people who thanked us for coming to observe and report about what was going on.  We also met someone whose permit had been confiscated by a policeman last week. He said that, in the end the permit had been given back and now everything was all right.  The long lines move slowly.  Another policewoman arrives (the blond) and some guards.  At the Humanitarian Gate, a lot of women go through, students and other eligible people.

 

At 7:20 it seemed as though the lines were finally shortened and then we also went through the Humanitarian Gate and approached station #5.  The progress there was extremely slow.  Altogether it took us half an hour to go through, even though there was no obvious reason for the delay.  Meanwhile, we talked with an elegant woman who works at a foreign consulate in Sheikh Jarah.  She also complained about the progress being so slow and that she is often late to work.