Qalandiya - A Palestinian who fainted receives treatment from a policeman and a soldier

Chana Stein (translating), Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting)

A reasonable day; a man who fainted receive treatment; do we see light at the end of the tunnel? – They say the new section will be opened shortly, easing passage.

05.15. Dark and cold. For the past few weeks we have seen on the Israel side groups sitting around fires, warming themselves.

Five checking stations were open, and the queues reached just outside the shed.

The soldier in the aquarium let in many people through at each opening of the turnstiles, and checking inside seemed to be fairly quick. Perhaps things are speeded up by the renewal of the ‘slalom’ of fencing from the cages to the checking stations. Our friend H. who in Mahane Yehuda tells us that the market is very busy during Hanukkah.  In general, people tell us that conditions have been reasonable at the machsom in recent days.

A policeman arrived and joined the soldier in the aquarium. Towards six o’clock the soldier prepares himself for being replaced, the policeman is outside the aquarium in the protected sterileinfo-icon area. Suddenly people call out to him. A man has fainted in the queue waiting at station no.5, and his friends are calling for help. The policeman immediately opens the gate, goes to the man and calls to the soldier to join him. They began to tend to the man and summoned help. Soon a woman medic. arrived together with a guard. Meanwhile admittance of people from the cages stopped, and everyone waited patiently, including those at the humanitarian gate. While the man was still getting care, a woman officer and soldier came to relieve the soldier of the aquarium. They proceeded to work the turnstiles. The crowd around the fainted man also dispersed, leaving him with a few friends. He soon recovered and got to his feet. The medic. and guard accompanied him out via the checking station, and returned. A D.C.O. soldier arrived to open the humanitarian gate.

The line at the humanitarian gate quickly ended and the regular lines also began to be short. We went outside for tea and when we returned we spoke to the policeman and the D.C.O. soldier, and heard from them that the new section is to be opened on 15.12. They said that they had meanwhile tested the new system and it all works. The new system is to be fully computerized and automatic (similar to those at Na’alin and some other places), and it is expected to allow for 9,000 people to pass in two hours.

At one stage the officer and soldier and they all, apart from the D.C.O. soldier, entered the aquarium. Perhaps they are discussing the fainting event, since everyone involved was inside. We, at any rate, were pleased to see the full and quick response to help the man. (In the past, when there was a queue collapse, a man fainted at checkpoint no.1. We were the ones who had to draw the attention of our forces, and there was no response from them.  They left the Palestinians to look after the man themselves. He, fortunately, recovered.)

At about 7 o’clock we joined one of the short lines, passing within 30 minutes.