After a week of debilitating heat, we found the CP filthy and depressing. It’s difficult to describe how disgusting and neglected the CP looks when every breath of passing breeze sends a jumble of plastic bags flying aloft. When we reached Qalandiya (at about 3:40 PM), three passageways were operating but a few people were standing in line only in Passageway No. 1 while the others stood empty. The “unemployed” soldiers in the empty passageways spent their time playing with their cell phones. Passageway 5, to the DCL offices, was still open but had very few customers. We met two men who were waiting for their papers and chose to do so in the main CP shed. At 4:15 PM a soldier came from the DCL offices, looking for another man who had requested a permit to travel to Gaza. The soldier searched for him all over the CP, calling his name, but he couldn’t be found.
An ambulance from the Palestinian Authority arrived at the CP and waited for approximately 20 minutes in the blazing heat until a second ambulance arrived from Jerusalem. Only then did the soldiers perform a security check before allowing the Palestinian ambulance to cross the CP and enter the parking lot to transfer the patient.
At 4:45 PM the two “empty” passageways shut down leaving only Passageway No.1 open to serve the public. The soldiers had gone to their “supper break.” The line in the open passageway began to grow exponentially as this is the hour when students and workers return from their work and studies. Much to our surprise, another passageway opened just a few minutes later, dividing the waiting time in half.