A very calm morning in Qalandiya

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

05.15. We were pleased to find only short queues.  4 checking stations were open. The beigel seller was at his post. Our friend H. chatted with us while waiting to enter the cage. He told us that there was an improvised checkpoint on his way one day. As he was in a hurry he sped, and was fined 750 shekels. “Lucky that they didn’t think he was trying to run them down!” From our long acqaintance with him, we assume that when they stopped him and spoke with him, they realized he was no terrorist. He speaks Hebrew fluently, is well versed in Israeli goings-on after working dozens of years in Mahane Yehuda. Nevertheless, we were afraid that they might have opened a police file for him (which would automatically have cancelled his permit), and were happy to note that he was not turned back at the checking station.

The beigel seller, told us  that yesterday, too, the situation was like this until 6 o’clock, but after the change of soldiers in the checking stations, checking became very slow and the lines extended all the way to the road.  Fortunately this did not happen today.  Even after the change, the mood remained very calm and lines were very short, If they existed at all. Sometimes 5 checking stations were open. The humanitarian gate was not opened, but there was no need.

At one point a Palestinian journalist arrived, with a camerainfo-icon and its stand, apparently working for a foreign Arab network. He tried to find someone to interview, but because there was no queue for a change, people did not want to delay and rushed past him. Finally he did find someone to interview. Then he took his camera through a cage and its turnstile, and stood in front of the checking-stations, and began to interview people there. Only after a while did a guard approach him. We saw that the guard took from him his identity card and spoke with him. Afterwards the identity card was returned to the photographer who continued speaking with the guard.

At about 6.30 we entered the empty cage, passed through the turnstile which had been kept open, and passed through to the Israel side in record time.