Qalandiya CP: the humanitarian gate did not open this morning
NO HUMANITARIAN GATE!
05.30. Arriving a little late, we found the shed almost empty. There were also not many people at the windows inside.
Even the beigel-seller was absent. Individuals came in and happily ran through the cage closest to the cubicle where the soldier was sitting. Gradually the stream thickened until shortly after 6 it was necessary for the soldier to operate the turnstiles, now having to open all three. He did this conscientiously, although he was clearly waiting for his relief, which arrived only at 6.15.
At first, women who arrived would easily fit in at the entrance to the cages but as more arrived they had to join the regular lines. As there was no sign of the humanitarian gate’s being opened, we phoned at 6.30. The only result seemed to be that a soldier came to unlock the gate to the humanitarian ‘corral’, left it unlocked (but of course the turnstile inside was still closed), and departed.
Throughout our stay there was no sign of a guard or policeman.
Apart from all the women who had to pass through the cages, we saw also a man on a crutch, another (a schoolteacher) who was hobbling on his unlaced shoe because of a foot fracture, and a couple carrying their toddler.
We finally joined a line at 7.40. By the time we reached the checking station itself, there were many older people who were waiting for their 8 a.m. permit-free admission. The competition to get through the turnstile there was pretty tough! But we were through within 20 minutes.
During our shift we were approached by one man for help in cancelling his ‘refused’ status, and gave him Sylvia’s details.
We were happy when another man came up to thank Sylvia (whose proud representatives we are!) for successfully solving his case.