Orit D., Ofra T., Nili F., Michal W. (reporting); Translator: Judith Green
When we arrived at the hour of , the place with full up to the last benches and beyond. Filth, holes in the floor, broken and dirty faucets. The remains of a bench that were left standing on the floor had become a dangerous obstacle, especially when the checkpoint was full, like today. Still stuck - even though the officer that came to see how Hannah Barag was doing, 2 weeks ago (after she had fallen from the shaky bench), had promised her to fix it by .
The travelers who arrive in buses from all over the West Bank are supposed to co-ordinate their passage through the various checkpoints previously, before they get to Qalandiya! So, 3 buses with travelers were sent back before they even arrived.
A group of women that were on their way to Haifa and Acre, and hadn't co-ordinated their passage ahead of time, asked us to help to go through Qalandiya. The DCO officer who was present (during the whole shift, a welcome change) was not ready to challenge the rules. After clarification, it turned out that the trip had been co-ordinated with the checkpoint at Na'alin, not at Qalandiya. The bus with the passengers went to Na'alin. Later on, we contacted their "administrator" and she told us that they were stuck in a serious line at Na'alin...another group which arrived while we were at the checkpoint was also sent to Na'alin.
The DCO officer opened the Humanitarian checkpoint once in a while for very elderly people. One should mention that the officer was patient, polite, and tried to help. He listened and answered people politely whenever people arrived who matched the age profile for the Humanitarian checkpoint - opened the gate for them. We told him that the presence of a DCO officer at the checkpoint was very effective, and that we don't usually meet people from the DCO on Fridays. It is infrequent and generally only after a lot of phone calls and wasted time. He claimed that there should be a representative of the DCO there every. But he himself was usually at Abu Dis on Fridays.
At about 10, the line began to move forward quickly and, after half an hour, the place had pretty much emptied out.