Qalandiya

Observers: 
Ya`ara Rafiah and Gili Kugler
Apr-16-2015
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Morning

5.00 Only one station is open. The queue stretches out up to the end of the shed.

 

People understand that they have a difficult morning ahead of them and approach us with questions; we contact the DCO, where they answer quite politely and say they will make enquiries.

 

Some of the people begin to hang their lunch bags on the other side of the enclosures, they are preparing to elbow their way through the queue.

 

5.10 The people start pushing and  jostling, the queue is ruined. The heavy rain outside is driving the people under the shed, there is disorder everywhere.

 

5.15 Three additional stations are opened after the queue has been ruined, what a pity.

 

5.30 Somebody takes command of the queues, three long queues are formed up to the end of the shed. Whoever comes late is exposed to the rain.

 

Those who have already reached the front of the enclosure are caught under a constant dribble of rain, with a gap of 1/2 a meter between the two parts of the roof, leaving the space exposed to the rain. Chinese torture.

 

5.40 4 tracks are working but the situation in the yard has not improved. The girl soldier in the aquarium seldom opens and when she does, it is for a relatively long stretch of time. We count: 90 people at one opening of the turnstile. This creates stress, people are waiting for a long time and when she opens, they try to push. We foresee the queue breaking down again.

 

Two families with little kids arrive, deliberating whether they should wait for the humanitarian gate. The workers let them move to the head of the queue. A few women arrive and enter at the head of the queue.

 

5.50 The heavy rain continues. People at the end of the shed get wet, all over their faces and clothes.

 

The stations inside are working slowly. The girl-soldier in the aquarium sticks to her routine.

 

Soon it will be six o`clock and the buses will arrive – tension is felt in the air.                                                                   

 

Two construction workers return through the enclosures – while they were standing in the queue they received a call saying that the transport to work (Modi`in, Ramle) had already left, could not wait for them. A day`s work is lost.

 

5.55 Two policemen arrive, too late…as we foresaw – for the second time this morning – disorder, jostling, beatings, queues non-existent, commotion.

 

6.00 Still disorder at the head of the queue, but there is an effort to  restore the queues, perhaps thanks to the arrival of the police – they begin to open more often, every time for a few people. Possibly they contacted the authorities and speeded up the work of the soldiers in the tracks.

 

We tell the policemen how bad it was in the morning, and their answer is: "there is nothing we can do, we are all human beings, the soldiers just came late, it happens".

I wonder whether such things also happen in institutions such as "Bituach Leumi"

( National Security  Institute) or the police – any other place  serving the population.

 

6.05 Everything is moving faster and more efficiently.

 

People gather at the humanitarian gate. They see that there is no intention to open it. A lame old man is sitting on a bench; a wound on his leg is covered with a plastic bag, he is using crutches. The policeman tells him that he cannot go through the humanitarian gate because he told the DCO soldier that it was not necessary to arrive.

 

6.20 The shed is empty.

 

6.30 We leave. It took us 7 minutes to pass and get wet until we reached the car. 

 

In one and a half hours of standing there we saw how the barrier is operating in an inappropriate and harmful way, actually against the law (only one track out of five is open), and how it becomes efficient. We met people who arrived at 5.00 saying that the "soldiers did it out of vindictiveness", "on purpose", "creating bitterness and hatred ". Other people arriving at an empty barrier at 6.00, hurried joyfully to the other side. It is nice to see the barrier working well but the  lack  of consistency, the knowledge that tomorrow again the soldiers might not arrive in time and the workers would lose a day`s work , leaves  you with a feeling of discomfort, anger and mistrust.

Back to the words of the policeman – why are people in authority allowed to make mistakes at the barrier, because they are only "human beings" not requested to  assume responsibility for this? Because the soldiers and policemen feel that they are doing them a favor, certainly not rendering service. Considering the fact that there is no dialogue – nobody explains the delay in the morning to the workers - we can understand a person who says that "they do it to them on purpose".