Qalandiya, The woman soldier manning the line was extremely helpful

Virginia Syvan, Ina Friedman (reporting)

The end of Laylat al-Qader

When we arrived at the checkpoint at 5:30 a.m. we were surprised to see lines (admittedly relatively short ones) inside it, for the last time we came to Qalandia at the end of Laylat al-Qader (a few years ago) all the foot traffic was in the opposite direction, toward the neighborhoods north of the checkpoint and from there into the northern West Bank, while the checkpoint itself was empty. Neither did we encounter, while walking from the southern parking lot to the checkpoint, the flood of people returning home after the night on the Haram a-Sharif (Temple Mount). That started about half an hour later.

Inside the checkpoint, all five checking stations were open but the progress into them was slow and began moving at a reasonable rate only after 6:00. At 6:00, with the help of one of our Palestinian acquaintances, we contacted the young cancer patient whom we were slated to drive to Hadassah Hospital and learned that he would arrive at Qalandia within 20 minutes. We immediately called the DCO hotline to try to arrange that a Civil Administration soldier or officer would be present in another 20 minutes to open the Humanitarian Gate for him. The woman soldier manning the line was extremely helpful, and a DCO officer and security guard arrived minutes after the patient entered the checkpoint. They opened the gate for him and the others who had gathered before it; the line waiting to enter the checking station we chose moved quite quickly, and we were on our way in less than 10 minutes, at 6:30.

As to next week, Id el-Fitr starts this Friday, for three days, and people return to work on Monday, June 18.