Chana Stein (translating), Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting)

A crowded morning at Qalandiya.

05.15.  A large group was just finishing their prayers when we arrived. As usual lately only 4 checking stations were open, the fifth one opening at about 6 o’clock. The long lines advanced slowly, but allowing women to fit in the entrance to the cages. The beigel and cake sellers and tea kiosk were all operating in the half dark shed.

At 6 o’clock there were already people waiting at the humanitarian gate. We went out for a few minutes to enjoy the sunrise. When we returned the gate was already being operated by a D.C.O. soldier and a guard. We met an old acquaintance, a member of the family running the tea kiosk. He told us he had been in prison for 7 months, on the grounds of transporting and helping people refused permits by Security, to enter Israel.

At the checkpoint there was no sign of the demonstrations that had apparently taken place at other times, against the Trump declaration. (Last week we did not go to Qalandiya, out of fear of disturbances).

At about 7.30, the lines finally got shorter, and we joined one. Meanwhile the humanitarian gate was closed and the soldier and guard left. While waiting in line we chatted with an English-speaking young man. He works for UNRRA and normally travels in organized transport – but today he overslept.  As we reached the checking-point, one could see his lack of experience.  A number of times he had to return to take out yet another object from his pockets, or to remove some item and put it in the machine.  People behind him began to lose patience.  He finally removed his shoes and passed without more whistles from the machine.

It took us some 30 minutes to pass through.