Have they changed the system again?
The lines already extended beyond the covered area of the Qalandiya checkpoint when we arrived at 05:00. The reason was that only three of the five lanes were open – with no explanation. The signs above the fenced corridors showed that one was open and the second closed, when in fact both were closed, and that only increased the confusion of those waiting and made them waste more time. The two remaining lanes opened at 05:25, but by then the damage had already been done. During almost all the peak hours the lines reached the parking area and continued to stretch beyond the cages even when we left at 07:10.
At 06:00 the DCL soldier arrived to operate the humanitarian gate, opened it, and reopened it whenever a handful of people had gathered there. We wish he’d be there every morning.
A teacher asked for our help. He was turned back at two inspection booths even though his permit is valid and his ID indicated he’s older than 55 and therefore doesn’t even need a permit (he knew that and told the MPs in the booths, to no avail). For some reason the MPs decided he’s not allowed to enter before 08:00 even though he’s come through earlier for years in order to reach school on time. We asked the DCL soldier to help, he called someone to find out why the man had been refused entry and told him he can now go through without any problem. We hope he really was able to cross successfully.
We warmly recommend to the military police to provide its personnel with the same information given to the people who must go through the checkpoints. For example, the MPs should know that a 55-year old man no longer needs a permit to come from the West Bank to Israel. This is the second time this past week I’ve run into a man older than 55 who has been turned back at the checkpoint – and both of them did, in fact, have permits, but neither their age nor their permit did any good until they spoke to the DCL representative on site.