Qalandiya - A cold but brief morning

Virginia Syvan, Ina Friedman (reporting)

Only four of the five checking stations were open on this cold, foggy morning when we arrived at 5:30 a.m. but the lines were short and the soldier allowed people through the cages fairly frequently. About 10 minutes later the turnstile at the end of cage #1 stopped working. At first the people in the cage and on the line simply shouted for the soldier to open it but after a few tires they left the cage and joined the other two lines – causing a brief breakdown of the line discipline. While a Palestinian volunteer stood at the entrance to the middle cage to monitor that the newly formed lines would remain orderly, one of us stood at the opening  to cage #1 to warn people that the turnstile was not working. We also called the DCO line to ask that the soldier in the Aquarium either open the turnstile (in case he had not been doing so) or announce that it is not operational, so that newcomers would not enter the cage. After about 10 minutes of this, the problematic turnstile began working again(!), people rushed into the cage and formed a third line, and the progress forward continued smoothly to the end of the shift.

The Humanitarian Gate opened at 6:19, while the lines through the cages were contained inside the shed and by 6:30 the lines were contained inside the cages.

At 6:45 we entered one of the empty cages, where the turnstile was left open to all newcomers, and were through the security check in 10 minutes.