Qalandiya - filthy and noisy
Arriving at 8:50, we found the place filthy and noisy. The external line reached half-way down to the edge of the shack. The inner booths were open. Lots of people crowded up, pushing one another, trying to reach the head of the line. The disorder caused brawls and shouting.
A man and a woman, volunteers of the EAPPI organization, had arrived before us. The man told us that he had twice phoned the Matak to open the humanitarian gate – to no avail. There were days during the week that were clear of lines despite even larger crowds wanting to cross. We unsuccessfully tried to communicate with the girl in the booth. Near the gate we noticed an elderly man limping, hardly able to stand. Although we called the Matak to open the humanitarian gate for him, the gate was not opened. We later noticed that he joined the regular line.
At 9:10 matters started to move foreward and some of the people passed through. The line had reached the edge of the shack. There were delays at the inner lines as well. Some of those waiting had brought folding chairs along. The girl soldier at the booth was busy with a cell call and did not even once leave her stand.
At 9:20 a large crowd flowed in. Still noise, pushing and brawls between the people on line. Some people left the line and took a cab. Gradually, by 9:50 the line was a quarter of what it had been. Most of the people finally got through and merely 20 remained outside waiting.