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

A calm morning at Qalandiya.

05.15. The municipality’s large poster telling the citizens that ”we are making new for you” leans on its side, reclining on a neighbouring electric pole (and this is even before the wild winds of Friday night). Next to it, as usual, is a large group of men at prayer. At the entrance to the checkpoint, too, is a large group praying. When we reached the Palestinian side we were greeted by long lines stretching beyond the shed. The beigel seller was praying together with a group inside the shed. The lighting is still woefully insufficient, with many fluorescent lights missing. Soon after we arrived, the tea kiosk opened and suddenly , to our happy surprise, we could see the end of the queue.

As usual lately only 4 checking stations were working. The fifth opened at about 6. Individuals and groups, after praying, join the lines. The lines themselves were orderly and advanced at a reasonable pace. Women fitted in at the entrance to the cages. The soldier opened only 2 turnstiles instead of 3, for some unknown reason. After he was relieved, his replacement opened all three turnstiles. Women arriving at about 6 dithered whether to wait for the humanitarian gate to open, but meanwhile joined the regular line which was not long. A guard and the D.C.O. officer arrived only at 6.20, and even then, when they saw the situation, did not hurry to open the gate. The soldier told people to go to the regular line, but when he came out again from the aquarium and we asked him about this, he said they would open the gate right away, and so they did.

At about 6.35 the lines became very short and we joined one. It took us 20 minutes to pass through.