Qalandiya - A quiet morning

Chana Stein, Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting)

05.15.  Still very dark, but already many people waiting for transport and the café is full.

There were no queues in the shed, and few people waiting at the checking stations. The turnstiles were open and people entered immediately. The soldier in the aquarium had switched on the light inside and so, for a change, one could see what was going on inside. The area around the aquarium was filthy, the trash can overflowing, all of which the cats enjoyed.

We did not see much progress in building.

The turnstile nearest the aquarium was faulty and did not open, but the other two remained open all the time, even later when quite a line formed at each checking station. Apparently the machine at station 5 was out of order and every now and again it was announced that the station was open only to people without baggage.  At about 6 a policeman arrived and sat outside the aquarium

We met a family – father,pregnant mother, and sweet young boy – going for medical treatment - who were sent back. Their permit was for 7 o'clock and they had to wait. We later saw the father and son praying -  the little boy watching every movement of his fathr so that he could copy – at the same time looking around and taking an interest in the surroundings.

Shortly after 6 the soldiers changed watch, and a guard arrived. At about 6.20 the D.C.O. officer arrived, but she had no work today, as there was no need to open the humanitarian gate. At 6.25 we entered the cage and in less than 15 minutes were through, back on the sraeli side.