Qalandiya

Observers: 
Gili Kugler and Ya'ara Rafiah; Translator: Hanna Kahana
14/05/2015
|
Morning

5:00 We arrived at the CP, parked the vehicle on the Israeli side and crossed over on food.

To our surprise, the two soldiers in post no. 1 were sleeping on the table. We were shocked – we saw queues up to the parking lot – and the soldiers were sleeping. We knocked on the armored window, they woke up and explained that the x-ray maching wasn't working and that they weren't authorized to let people pass without screening. They are waiting for an authorized security guard. They don't know when he is supposed to arrive. Their commander is aware of the situation. Nothing can be done.

We enter the shed. 4 posts are active, but the queues are long. Long but calm.

It has been already a few shifts where we arrive and find the situation abominable, unactive posts, shoving and blows. So this time there was a relatively pleasant feeling, and also expectation in view of yesterday's report. But in fact, when one thinks about it, it is not at all clear what is worse? The nerves, the anger and the violence of the pushing and shoving, or the apathy, the despair and theacquiescence in view of a queue that doesn't move?

In the shed all was calm, so we went out and saw that the queues are very long and reach deep into the parking lot. We stood around and talked with the people. The sun began to shine. The queue did not move.

 

The soldier in the aquariumcame out and turned out to be a nice and understanding young man. We told him that it would be advisable to open the queues more often, even for a short time, so that there would be a feeling of movement all the time. I may be that he took our advice too literally, and he really opened many times but for very few people each time…Better to keep quiet?

 

The transporation intended for workers to Atarot arrives, they see the length of the queue and do not even trouble to stand in it. They enter and sit on the benches. Everybody knows what will soon happen.

 

6:00 We go back in, the queue to the humanitarian gate is long, the other queues to the enclosures reaches deep into the parking lot, the benches are full with nervous people who do not understand why nothing moves. We go to the security guard who stands near the aquarium and hear him talking on the phone, seemingly with the people inside, and says that the queue does not move, that there is pressure in the air and that it is advisable to begin speeding up the passage at the posts, as the explosion is imminent.

And indeed, while he is still talking, everything breaks up. The "quiet" morning turns into a pack of people who press and are themselves pressurized. What a pity!! How depressing…

6:25 There are 7 people in the aquarium: soldiers, a DCO officer, policemen and security guards. From outside one can see the laughs and the party. Nobody comes out, not even the DCO soldier. Outside – scores of women and children, old people and persons with authorizations to cross over at the humanitarian gate, who don't know what to do. Nobody comes out to talk to them, there is no chance to pass through the enclosures. The people who stand in the queues ask us whether they should wait until the humanitarian gate is opened. When it will be opened. (a group of women pass from the humanitarian queue to the disorderly queue of the enclosures, back and forth, they don't know where chance will smile on them. We contact the DCO – they don't know whether the gate will be opened and when, we try to talk to a policeman or a soldier – have them just say what one should do, wait at the humanitarian queue or stand in the queues that try to reorganize. Nobody hears us, or rather, hears but isn't interested to listen and certainly not to answer. The feeling is just  terrible. Helplessness in view of a wall of unreceptiveness. And this happens at the humanitarian queue. The rest of the crowd rages and storms the narrow openings of the enclosures. Perhaps apathy and despair are

Preferable?

6:30 The humanitarian gate is opened. The same persons who have been standing already for some time at the aquarium decide to come out and open it. It would be interesting to know whether they couldn't have done it earlier? It seems to us that they could have. When we tried to ask they shouted at us not to interfere.

The humanitarian works, the queues are again acting, more or less, and they are still long.

Enough, we have had enough. We decided to set out on an adventure on wheels, and to pass through the vehicle CP by bus. We crossed the square on foot, got on a bus, descended 20 meters later, and crossed the blue ID cards CP. The girl soldier could care less, whereas the security guards at the exit gate couldn't understand what we were doing there, why we talk Hebrew. They held the ID cards and insisted we tell them what our land of origin was.  I answered that I was a Russian.

Have a nice day.