A slow and crowded morning
When we arrived at the Qalandiya Checkpoint at 6 a.m., all five checking stations were open but the pace was very slow. By 6:15 the waiting line extended deep into the parking lot and remained that way until about 7:20 (and bear in mind that many of the workers in the Atarot Industrial Zone must be at work by 7:00). At 6:50 we began following a man who had just joined the line; it took him 35 minutes to reach the turnstile leading into a checking station. A few people commented to us that Monday (the previous day) had been particularly difficult.
The Humanitarian Gate was opened at 6:20 by a new woman soldier and afterward every 10-15 minutes. Later on we were happy to see and talk to the veteran DCO soldier F. (whom we thought had be demobilized but was serving at a different post).
At 7:45, when the “cages” had emptied out, we passed through one of them. But then we waited on line for 20 minutes to enter the checking station and therefore left the checkpoint at 8:05.
Not for the first time we note that the Qalandiya Checkpoint is simply not built nor equipped to handle the thousands of people who pass through it on foot and by car each weekday morning on their way to work, school, hospitals, etc. And the more the government extends the issuance of entry permits to Palestinians (if indeed it does), without extending with the ability of this checkpoint to handle the them during peak hours, the worse the problem will grow. One hand accommodates (at best) while the other punishes the "suckers" who bother to request entry permits: That’s the true meaning of the permits regime.
Line outside the checkpoint at 6:15.