A calm morning at Qalandiya
It is a cool and early morning when we walk to Qalandiya CP after parking on the Israeli side.
We are pleased to learn that today as well the lines situation is good. At 5:15 the checkpoints are already in operation. Lines are not long in front of the 2nd and 3rd terminals. When the opened the lines remained only in the terminals and a bit beyond. At 5:30 there were no lines and the turnstiles at the end of terminal 3 was left open.
The cakes and bagels peddlers were here as usual but the coffee stand was closed until we left the place. People arrive and they are happy to find out that there are no lines. Many greet us, including H and other acquaintances. Since there are no lines they don't stop to chat with us.
A sign on the wall announces , in English and Arabic, that as of 15.6.15 the parking lot will be closed. Preparing for the Ramadan. We saw outside a sign in Arabic informing about the closure of the parking lot, indicating that the closure is due to the Ramadan.
Outside a taxi driver calls at us: :Sylvia, you know her?" Of course we know. He asks if she comes to Kalandia. We told him she doesn't come but made sure he had all the details for contacting her. Another person needed our help in solving his security restrictions.
We saw few people who were turned back. One of them talking on the phone and with the policeman, trying to reverse the decision but he was sent to sort out the matter at the DCO. He goes back and sits, waiting until the DCO will open. Later he tries his luck with the policewoman, saying that he is crossing every day. She takes his card, calls to check but to no avail.
At 5:50 there are no lines. The turnstile is open and the loudspeaker calls to use checkpoints 4 and 5. From time to time you hear the soldiers giving instructions and usually their tone is matter of fact and courteous. At 6:00 a security person arrives and when seeing that there are no lines he smiles and says: "where is everybody?". The atmosphere is calm and relaxes by all parties. At 6:10 P from the DCO arrives but there is no need to open the humanitarian line.
Again the question what makes this machsom a nightmare on one day and calm with no lines on another day as today. No question that opening the checkpoints early helps but this is not the only reason. It seems that lately the soldiers are more efficient (also reported by our friends) which makes a difference. Hope it continues this way, especially with the Ramadan approaching when most of the Palestinians are fasting.
At around 6:00 when we saw that everything moves smoothly we joined the short line and crossed.