Qalandiya

Observers: 
Chana S., Ronit D. (reporting); Translator: Charles K.
21/01/2015
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Morning

As we’ve been doing recently, we parked on the Israeli side and crossed on foot.  At the entrance we detoured around a large group of people praying and went through.  There are already lines on the Palestinian side at 05:15 even though all five lanes are open.  The beigel and pastry sellers are already here, and Ayman’s coffee stand is open.  They have more work when there are lines.  The revolving gate at the end of one of the cages, the one farthest from us, is stuck.  It’s blocked by a police barrier so people aren’t entering.  They enter the other two cages, but for some reason the soldier is opening the revolving gate only to one of them.  People are shouting and whistling at him and we also try to signal him to open both gatesinfo-icon, but in vain.  We telephoned the DCL to ask them to tell him to open the gate.  That didn’t help either, and today, as it happened, the policewoman didn’t arrive as usual at 05:30.  The situation is explosive and the lines already stretch to the parking area.  It was a miracle that people didn’t begin pushing and piling one on the other.

 

05:35  A policeman arrives.  People who’ve already gone through and are waiting at the inspection booths tell him that the soldier isn’t opening both revolving gates, and we also tell him.  Now, apparently at the policeman’s order, only the revolving gate to the middle cage opens.  Afterwards both opened and the situation eased.  People stood in orderly lines and moved forward slowly.  The policeman directed them to the less-crowded booths.  Women who arrived were allowed to go straight to the cages, as usual.

 

A second policeman arrived a little before 6 AM and a group of people has gathered at the humanitarian gate.  At 06:05 P., the noncom, arrives and opens the humanitarian gate.  One of the policemen had blocked the entry to lane 5 with the barrier so it would serve only those going through the humanitarian gate.

 

At 06:15 the blonde policewoman arrives and immediately orders the revolving gates to open and to let more people through from the cages to the inspection booths (“flow them through,” in the words of our forces).  A woman turned back at the inspection booth approaches P.  He talks to her and the policewoman checks something for him, but she’s sent back.  We spoke to her; it turns out she has to go to court.  But her permit is valid only from 8 AM, so she must wait.

 

A man we’ve seen in the past trying to go through the humanitarian gate and who was punished by one of the policemen who confiscated his permit until 9 AM, tried again today.  P. turns him away, but then an elegant woman arrives – whom we’d also seen in the past.  She works in one of the consulates.  She knows the man and he crosses with her.  But P. doesn’t let him continue.  The woman moves toward booth 5, but then returns and tries to convince P. to let her acquaintance cross.  She goes back and forth a few times, P. finally relents and the man goes through.

 

At 06:30, approximately, the lines diminished and we also went through, back to town.