Qalandiya

Observers: 
Guests of Breaking the Silence, Hanna Barag (Reporting); Translation: Marcia L.,
07/06/2016
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Morning

Qalandiya

04:00 –A long line of about 200 people had already gathered but only one station was open.  About two minutes after a phone call from us, all five stations open and the time it takes to pass through shortens very quickly.  A young man and a young woman sat in the “aquarium” and it seemed that they are enjoying each other’s company.

05:30 – The guests arrived.  They photographed a great deal and listened attentively.  Among the guests were two people who had visited Israel in the past and who were familiar with the checkpoints.  At about 05:30, the vulgar policeman reported for work and refused to answer our questions.  “I am not obligated to respond to you.”  In my naïveté, I thought that policemen had to respond to citizens – but perhaps I dreamed that in citizenship classes. . .

06:20 – The female soldier from the District Command Office (DCO) appeared late, as usual.  Except for her contemptible and rude approach, it is only possible to say on her behalf, that at least she knows Arabic.  She stands in front of the people, hands in her pockets and her entire body language is scornful and arrogant.  We look her straight in the eyes: “What’s new?”  The line continues to grow.  The pace is reasonable.  Take into consideration that it is now Ramadan and before this time, people were not deserving of shorter procedures.  An older woman requested help.  She was on her way to the hospital with a heavy cast on her hand.  The woman soldier from the DCO said, “Only at 08:00; it doesn’t concern me.”  The same response was given to other women.  Shortly after that, the woman soldier disappeared and the “Humanitarian Gate” wasn’t opened. When we were explaining about the “Humanitarian” Gate to the visitors, a small “storm” or dispute broke out.  We were asked what was “humanitarian” at the checkpoint and we didn’t succeed (obviously) in giving an answer. . .

One of those who passed through and returned, approached us, a young man from East Jerusalem, and with the help of translation, he told his story.  More and more join the line and from time to time sharp yelling pierces the air, which speeds up the opening of the checkpoint. 

07:30 – We left for breakfast and the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem and the discussion continued until 09:00 when the guests left for a tour of the Seamline Zone with Pitzi.