Qalandiya - the workers have to wait in the rain because the line extends beyond the shed

Observers: 
Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting), Natanya (photographing and translatiing)
06/02/2019
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Morning
ממתינים בגשם מחוץ לסככה
ממתינים בגשם מחוץ לסככה
Photographer: 
נתניה גינזבורג
אדם בכסא גלגלים ממתין עם מלוויו לפני השער ההומניטרי
אדם בכסא גלגלים ממתין עם מלוויו לפני השער ההומניטרי
Photographer: 
נתניה גינזבורג

We reached Qalandiya at about 5:20. It is still dark outside, and from time to time it rains. However relatively speaking today is not cold.

On the Palestinian side, the falafel stand was on the corner of the shed, and the bagel vendor was also here with his cart and outside the new kiosk. This time, too, people are allowed through the turnstiles at the end of the three cages, and they then  wait in the window area, enclosed by low fences, in preparation for access to the five inspection posts. At this stage the queues are in good condition and all five positions are open.

However, the lines are getting longer and the rain that occasionally descends in short bursts certainly does not benefit the workers who make their way to the checkpoint and often have to wait in queues that stray out of the shed.

At one of the breaks from the rain, after the dawn, we went outside and tried to see through the fences how the construction had progressed in the new area of the checkpoint. As far as we could  see, everything is nearly ready. The lighting is on and signs  directing people are already hanging. One of them is directed at the "toilets", a facility that is so conspicuous in its absence at the checkpoint now. We hope that services will be opened and will last long and will be worthy of use ...

The lines were orderly  and the men  allowed the women to come in  at the entrance to the pens. About six people are already waiting at the humanitarian gate. Shortly after 6, a man arrived in a wheelchair with escorts and they went to the closed humanitarian gate. We phoned the DCO and were told that the gate was opened between 6:00 and 6:30 and they could not hurry it, but then a soldier from the military police arrived to change the shift (a concrete building where the soldier who opens the turnstiles sits opposite the cages)  He is accompanied by a  female  officer.When  the officer came out of the “aquarium“ with the soldier who was replaced and who returned to the base, we asked her to speed up the opening of the humanitarian gate, at least for the wheelchair (in the humanitarian lane there is also a gate that can be opened and then it is not necessary to  pass through the turnstile). She agreed to this and  then a guard appeared and opened the gate, for the time being only for the man with the wheelchair and his escort. She went with them to the inspection post to make sure that the gatesinfo-icon next to the turnstiles were opened for the wheelchair so that he could pass through. In the meantime the representative of the DCO appeared and immediately opened the gate for those who were still waiting.

At 6:50, two volunteers came from the church organization, one from Germany and the other, the younger,  from the Czech Republic. They are here only for a short period of time, usually on Mondays at 4:30 pm and on Fridays later. They had heard a lecture by our friend Hanna  Barag and wanted to meet us, so they came today.

The lines were no longer so long and seemed reasonable. But then people started trying to enter the left side of the left cage,  others were angry at them and shouted at them to keep the line. We had just directed  the attention of the two volunteers from abroad that it is about to happen, and then the lines collapsed, it happened in a moment, someone starts pushing, another ran forward and then everyone ran  and pushed and three relatively straight lines turned into a pile of people pushing and screaming ... It really is not clear why it should have happened today, and at a time when the lines were already getting shorter, and the pile of people was not so large, and almost immediately, orderly queues followed.

For personal reasons we had to leave early and could not stay until there were orderly queues again. We hoped it would not take long. We parted from the foreign volunteers after a short conversation and went through the humanitarian gate. The passage took about 20-25 minutes.