Qalandiya

Observers: 
Ronny P., Marcia L. (Reporting)
Mar-15-2015
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Morning

Terrible Morning

5:00 – When we arrived, there was already a long line, almost to the parking lot, despite the fact that all three carousels were working and all five inspection windows were open.   Very quickly the area under the roof filled up and the lines stretched to the middle of the parking lot.  During the two-and-a-half hours we were at the checkpoint, the lines never got shorter.

5:15 – A new policemen appeared whom we had never seen before.  We thought that he would take care of the crowding in the carousels, but he ignored our requests to check why the inspections were taking so long for each person going through.  If he had checked, he could have moved the lines from the carousels to the inspection windows much faster.

5:45 – The crowding continued and we felt, saw and heard the workers’ frustration.  Many of them had arrived before 5:00 and were still sitting on the benches, waiting for the lines to thin out before attempting to go through the carousels.  There was already a line at the Humanitarian Gate.

6:00 – The soldier in charge of the Humanitarian gate arrived and opened the gate every couple of minutes for the people with permits to pass through.  At about 6:30, an elderly woman appeared and passed through the Humanitarian Gate.  In 10 minutes we saw through the wire fence that the woman returned from the inspection window.  Suddenly, she sat down on the ground and began to beg to pass through the checkpoint.  She pulled out her green identity card and continued to plead with the soldiers.  In the end, the soldiers did not let her pass through and she had to return home. On her way out, we heard her repeat over and over, that she heard on television that she is allowed to go through the checkpoint without a permit.

Ronny approached the soldier and asked what happened with the woman.  He explained that the Minister of Security announced that all women 50 and older and all men 55 and older, could go through the checkpoints without a permit.  The workers still sitting on benches said that the new regulation was already advertised on television and everyone was familiar with it.  When Ronny then asked the soldier why he didn’t let the woman through, he said that although there is a new regulation, it has not yet been implemented.  (There are orders and there is common sense!!!)  The poor woman had to return home because the soldier couldn’t use his common sense and let this one woman through the checkpoint.

6:30 – There was chaos around the carousels.  The workers jumped on top of the carousels and because of the pushing and shoving within the carousels, we were afraid someone would be trampled.  Over and over the workers screamed, jumped on the roof and crushed each other within the carousels.

And what did the policeman, the policewoman and the soldiers do?  Nothing!  They looked around, stood together, spoke to each other, but no one bothered to hurry the inspections.

We heard today the same complaint that we hear all the time from the workers:  the soldiers within the inspection windows that check permits and fingerprints, play with their phones, speak to each other, and speak on their cell phones instead of working quickly and efficiently.

7:30 – We left despite the fact that there were still many people in line.  It was one of the worst days we can remember.

To our joy and to the joy of the workers, the bathrooms were open and during the morning, we saw many workers use them, especially those who waited such a long time to go through the carousels.