Virginia S., Ina P. (reporting) Judith Green(trans.)
The difficult situation at the Qalandiya checkpoint
This morning, from 5:00-7:30, and the whole recent period at the Qalandiya checkpoint can be summarized in a few sentences.
The checkpoint system is not able to deal with the number of people who arrive there at the peak hours of the morning (5:00-7:30). This is quite obvious to everyone, including the policeman assigned there whose crude behavior only aggravates the bad situation. During the recent period, he also controls the Humanitarian Gate personally, instead of allowing the DCO soldiers to do their work quietly and calmly.
The result is,according to our follow-up of people who were randomly chosen when they joined the end of the line, deep inside the parking lot, tracking them until they went into to inspection sleeve, the wait in line was 40-45 minutes. And one must remember that this is a daily occurrence.
Concerning the reason that they crowd more and more people particularly into the Qalandiya checkpoint, and don't direct the movement by turning people toward other checkpoints in the area, one could present various arguments. However, they say that this is the result of the policy of totally controlling the Palestinian population; others say that it is simply a lack of organization within the system. The truth is that, for the people who need to stand for 40 minutes in line before they begin their day's' work, it really doesn't make any difference.
Since this situation is so obvious to the naked eye, and we can assume that it is known to the responsible authorities at the checkpoint, who only allow the situation to deteriorate further and further, we have no other recourse than to bring this picture to a much greater public, in the hope that the authorities will act out of shame. It is important to once again bring the press, in order to photograph the checkpoint and interview those waiting, to try to get together the foreign consuls in Jerusalem, to help the various human rights organizations - B'tzelem, Ir Amim, ACRI - to once again shine the spotlight on the Qalandiya checkpoint, because these organizations, plus persistence, are the only tools we have. If anyone has another suggestions, we would be happy to hear it.