Qalandiya

Observers: 
Orit Dekel, Ofra Tene, Nili Fischer, Michal Wiener (reporting); Translator: Hanna K.
Mar-3-2017
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Morning

At 09:10, when we arrived, the queue reached almost the end of the shed. It was a cold and rainy day. Two volunteers from the EAPPI organization who were on the spot came up to us and told us that the progress is very slow, and that this was the situation during the entire week. According to them, the gate is opened every ten minutes approximately, and each time only about 35 persons are allowed to pass. The volunteer lady contacted the DCO and asked that the process be sped up, but the soldier claimed that he couldn’t do anything in the matter.

The place looked a bit cleaner than usual. One of the toilet rooms was open, and it seemed it had been cleaned with Lysol. At nine fifteen the gate was again opened and people began crowding in and running in the direction of the interior passages. The queue outside shrunk to half its former size.

At 09:20 there was again an accumulation of about seventy people in the queue by the entrance, and a jam formed in the internal passages.  Until 09:30 the queue became even longer. We again contacted the DCO and the soldier said he would ask his officer what could be done, and that at that very moment there was no vehicle in which one could send an officer to the CP. The soldier opened the humanitarian gate for three young men who presented a passage permit. They waited for the soldier over half an hour until he came out of the cubicle.

Until 09:45 the queue became longer and longer, the internal passages were crowded and it seemed that there was no movement. At 09:50 the gate was opened again. A small number of people remained at two of the entrances and a longer queue at the third entrance. Ten minutes later the queue again became longer and reached the end of the shed.

We noted a man who walked with the help of crutches and who arrived with his wife and five of his children, aged 2 to 12. The man told us that his leg was broken and that he had to reach hospital for treatment. We tried to draw the attention of the soldier, and after many efforts he came out of the cubicle and said he had no authority to open the humanitarian gate and that the man had to pass by the regular gate. He added that he was authorized to open the gate only for persons in wheelchairs. The volunteer lady told us that last week they didn’t let a man with one leg pass, using the same argument. During all this time the man with the crutches waited, standing up. Then he became integrated in the regular queue. Until we left the checkpoint, no DCO representative arrived to open the humanitarian gate.

At 10:15 the outside queue was cut by half. The soldier in the booth came out. He didn’t come out in order to check whether he could help somebody or speed the process up. He asked for fire from one of the persons waiting in the queue and immediately went back to the booth.