A reasonable day at Qalandiya
This week we went out to Qalandiya on Monday, as on Wednesday (Remembrance Day and eve of Independence Day) we won't be able to come, and a curfew would moreover be probably announced. We parked on the Israeli side. At the entrance we met an ecumenical volunteer who counts the number of people passing. She reported that the situation was reasonable. At 5:15 approximately we were on the Palestinian side. The situation is in fact reasonable, but there are already queues. The three turnstiles at the edge of the enclosures are in action, and 4 out of the 5 checking posts are open. Inside we met another ecumencial volunteer, S., who told us that a fourth post had been opened just then. At 5:35 two policemen arrived and the fifth post was opened as well. There were queues but they did not accumulate too much. The men enabled the women who arrived to join the queue at the entrance to the enclosures. Like last week only the women's toilets were open and without flowing water. We saw a man entering the toilets and on coming out washing his hands at the drinking fountain outside. (There are only to drinking fountains outside, of which only one is operating).
People who approached us wanted to transfer medicines for the brother of one of them who had been detained. We turned to one of the policemen who talked to them, but it turned out that he couldn't help. They will have to return at 9, when the DCO will be opened.
At 5:55 one policeman left, and after him the second. At 6 a soldier arrived to replace the soldier in the aquarium, accompanied by another soldier who apparently was meant to secure the changing of guard, as later he accompanied the soldier who finished his shift. The soldier who remained opened just one of the three turnstiles and immediately the shouting began. But luckily he heard it and later he opened also the other turnstiles and even directed the people by loudspeaker to the available posts.
A queue began to accumulate near the humanitarian gate, but when the gate wasn't opened the waiting people despaired and joined the regular queue which wasn't especially long. One of the policemen again announced on the loudspeaker that at post 5 it was possible to pass only without satchels or bags. It seems the screening device is broken. In the meantime the NCO (non commissioned officer) P. arrived and opened the humanitarian gate. Later two security guards and the second policeman arrived.
6:10 – P. again opens the humanitarian gate for the few waiting people. The regular queues aren't long. Later more policemen arrived, amongst whom there was one who seemed high ranking, with a blue uniform and a training lacing. All in all the situation was acceptable.
We left at 6:30. Within 10 minutes we were outside.