Qalandiya

Place: 
Observers: 
Ronit Dahan-Ramati, Natanya Ginsburg
09/07/2017
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Morning

We arrived at Qalandiya at 5.30.  We parked and went on foot to the Palestinian side. At this time of the year it is already light. Inside we were met with the sight of lines which spread out into the parking lot. All three turnstiles were open and there were three long lines. The parking lot is still blocked and there seems no difference from the previous week.  There are still the same building materials and there are no signs of building. H. waves hello to us from the line.

The bagel seller is at his usual site and there is a new addition… a cake stall along the wall which is manned by two men who advertise their wares…..each cake is one shekel. Where the kiosk was is now some sort of alternative which was not opened while we were there. It seems it is used for the sale of CDs and not food. The soldier in the aquarium lets in many people but the lines at the windows are still long and the lines outside are lengthy. All five windows are open but the third seems to be out of order and therefore people who do not have bags or parcels can go through. 

Women joined the ordinary line from the side at the entrance to the turnstiles. A little after 6 the soldiers in the aquarium were changed. The new soldier paid his attention wholly to his cellphone and very little to opening the turnstiles. Only when there were hardly any people left near the windows and the people crowded together in the turnstiles began to shout did he open them. The guard and the representative of the DCO arrived as often happens late and began to open the humanitarian gate being careful to only let those with the correct documentation through,. But the guard also ordered the soldier who once again was not bothering to watch what was going to “stream” people though.

A little later  the blonde police woman arrived and another guard. Because of the situation of the lines they called to those without bags (including  those who had small parcels of food ) and sent them through the humanitarian gate  from where they were sent to the third window. The policewoman and the guard went from there to the windows and evidently told the soldiers to let the people through at that window. In the meantime the lines of people again grew and the soldier again took no notice. The guard was busy at the humanitarian gate and so did not call him to task. When the second guard and the policewoman returned the guard called the soldier saying,"Let them through, idiot.” The soldier protested but was kind enough to then carry out his duties and open the turnstiles.

The lines remained  long for a fairly long period of  time. Also the policewoman and the guards saw this as exceptional. They again allowed some people without bags to go through the humanitarian gate so as to ease the situation.

At 7.50 we joined one of the lines even though there were still many people and the line stretches beyond the shed. (Usually we wait until the lines are shorted but this time we had to get back by 9am). A group of woman going on a trip arrived. They were told that actually they would not be able to pass through Qalandiya but that this would be checked. Later when we were already in the cages we heard that they would be permitted to do so but only after 9am. We hoped  that the passage would empty out quickly enough so that they would be able to do so.  It took us half an hour to get to the Israeli side. The time that was left we ‘enjoyed’ in the traffic jams going to the city and we arrived dead on time at our destination.