Qalandiya - Preparations for the first Friday of Ramadan
A calm, quiet morning at Qalandiya; preparations towards the first Ramadan Friday.
05.15. A cold, clear morning. Queues were stretching into the parking lot, although all 5 checking stations were open. But very soon these queues grew short, and during the morning they never extended beyond the shed.
Because of Ramadan, there was no beigel seller or tea kiosk – or smokers. But today we could feel the stench from the toilets, which is usually covered by the smell of cigarette smoke…
Outside, to the left of the checkpoint, we could see preparations towards Friday. Checking points and concrete blocks – painted blue and white – were in place for people to pass. Men over 40, children and women are to be permitted on Friday without permits. There are no signposts yet. Presumably by tomorrow there will be signs pointing to the lanes for women, men ‘humanitarian’ and one with a Ramadan blessing. We hope all will pass peacefully. Meanwhile the place is deserted, with just a stray dog. The main entrance to the parking lot is closed, but through the side entrance the parking lot fills up during the day.
Inside, the lines are short. Women enter without problems the regular lines. At 6 o’clock a soldier arrived to relieve the one managing the turnstiles, accompanied by a guard, and followed shortly by a policeman. The coffee and Coke they brought with them they drank inside the aquarium. No D.C.O. officers came, but indeed there was no need.
At 6.15 we joined a line, and passed within 15 minutes.