Qalqiliya

Nov-4-2003
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14:25 A long unmoving queue of trucks and cars – some drivers
sleeping near the trucks. They’ve been waiting since 11:00 AM and
no one is let into Qalqilya, even pedestrians. About 150 people
waiting restlessly at the western end, to leave Qalqilya. A small
number of soldiers doing nothing. No one let through at all. The
tension was unbearable, and the people were starting to close in on
the soldiers – especially about a hundred men at the western end,
who began yelling and chanting something in Arabic together, moving
forward towards the soldiers.

A truck driver comes over and tells us that he has a truck full of
heifers and cows, and one heifer died from standing in the heat
“Who will compensate me for that?”

Two women with children were let through two hours before we came
but their luggage was left behind in the cart.

14:45 A group of officers and soldiers arrive (our
phone calls?).

One officer started to check IDs on the western side, calming
people down in Arabic, and letting them through quickly. Soldiers
didn’t cooperate with him much.

14:55 The division commander arrived, and opened the
back-to-back. Slowly and gradually people were let through from all
directions.

ID cards that have been confiscated since morning were returned to
people after we called the officer's attention to this
problem.

15:00 Cars are beginning to be let through, on both
sides.

We discover a pile of IDs at the western side – even through the
soldiers denied it at first. An officer went over, checked each,
and returned them all.

15:17 The queues are gone, a few people passing both
ways, including cars and donkey-carts. A young woman with a box of
peppers on her head says as she walks by us: “Today everyone talks
good because you’re here”

The soldiers are thirsty and have no more water. They aren’t
permitted to drink our water, they say, but one accepts our offer.