So Qalandiya can be relatively tolerable after all?
05.15. When we arrived there were long lines (reaching the road, we were told), but all 5 checking stations were open, and the soldier working the turnstiles let a large number of people through each time. In fact, when he went off duty, he left the turnstiles open – perhaps inadvertently – and crowds passed through! Interestingly, though this meant crowds at each checking stations, all remained calm there, and it certainly seemed to make those still waiting in the shed feel more relaxed than usual.
At 6 o’clock, the woman soldier who took over operating the turnstile also left the turnstiles open for quite a while, so people continued streaming through. The lines became much shorter and never extended beyond the shed. At one point there was an announcement that sounded as if Checking station no.1 was for permits only, but later we did notice people with lunch-bags going through.
Outside, the fenced-off building site looked full of good intentions (tractor, building materials), but no activity.
The D.C.O. officer arrived with a guard to open the humanitarian gate at about 6.15. Before that, because the lines were short, some ‘entitled’ people chose them, rather than wait for the humanitarian gate to open.
We joined a line at 7 o’clock and passed through in less than 15 minutes. As usual on these rare occasions when the place is run efficiently, we received thanks from Palestinians, as if we were responsible. If only we could understand why conditions vary so! Passing through Qalandiya is never a delight, but it need not be quite the nightmare that it has been lately.