Qalandiya

Observers: 
Neta E., Chana S. (reporting)
16/03/2015
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Morning

“A land for dogs!”

6.13 -7.30   Unfortunately, we could arrive only at 6.13 – to find three lines of workers stretching right to the parking lot.  According to a foreign volunteer who had been on the other side of the barrier, people were coming out at a very slow rate, so it looks as if the soldiers processing the checking were working very slowly. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that the soldier working the carousels either didn’t understand her job or showed singularly little initiative, and opened the carousels only when instructed by the officer or policeman, who were not always available.

The humanitarian gate was already being opened when we arrived and continued to be opened at frequent intervals UNTIL: there was an argument between the soldier and a man who had already passed the gate and was in the holding compartment (that exists before a carousel that people have to pass through finally to reach the checking posts).  The man was taken away by the soldier and policeman, and the large crowd who by now had collected to enter the humanitarian gate were told, very roughly, that the gate was now closed and that they had to join the normal lines.  As there was now no one to instruct the soldier to open the carousels, they remained closed (though we and people in the ‘cage’ opposite her tried to catch her attention) and everyone got very agitated.  So much so that the men wouldn’t let women come into the queue out of turn, as they usually do.

A man whose place was being kept for him by his brother, way out towards the parking lot, came to chat. His joke:  President Bush came to visit the country and brought his pet dog.  When it came time to leave, the dog refused to enter the plane. “ Why? Why?” asked Bush.  The dog replied, “This is a dog’s country.”

Finally, the officer returned (without the ‘troublesome’ man) and opened the humanitarian gate and also saw that the carousels were opened.

We had to leave at 7.30.  There were still lines, by this time reaching ‘’only’ to the edge of the hut.