Qalandiya

Place: 
Observers: 
Varda Z., Edith M. (reporting)
28/12/2015
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Morning

5:40 When we approached the checkpoint we saw a steady stream of both vehicles and pedestrians exiting. We parked and crossed on foot. The line of pedestrians waiting to cross into Israel stretched out into the parking lot, but they all stood quietly, with exemplary patience. The roads leading to the checkpoint were jammed as far as the eye could see, but there too there was steady movement. Five stations were open in the checkpoint, and the lines moved quickly.

We met two foreign volunteers, from EAPPI. They told us they had been at the checkpoint since 4:30, at which time only three lines were open. They said they come to Qalandiya three times a week.

In the course of the morning we watched several men from the time they joined the line beyond the roofed area, until they reached the head of the line. In each case it took them ten to twelve minutes.

6:05 A few women started gathering by the humanitarian gate. The younger woman from EAPPI phoned the DCO to ask them to open the gate. I had decided not to phone, to see how they would behave without being pestered, but I didn't react in time to stop her.

6:27 A soldier arrived and spoke, through the bars, with the people waiting at the humanitarian gate. (By this time there were around twenty women and elderly men waiting.) The gate opened, half an hour late. In a minute it closed. It opened for another pulse ten minutes later.

A young man escorted an elderly woman to the humanitarian gate, and wasn't allowed to pass through with her. He slipped into the head of the general line, and people let him do it. A few minutes later someone else pushed into the head of the line, and the people who had been waiting shouted at him. Except for this incident, everyone was remarkably well-behaved.

6:50 We got into the line. A man ahead of us couldn't pass the metal detector, his coat made it beep. After several tries, a soldier came out and examined the coat, and let the man (and us, everyone behind him in line) continue.

7:20 We came through, said goodbye to the EAPPI volunteers, and drove home.