A quiet morning in Qalandiya

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

We arrived at Qalandiya at about 5.15 and parked as usual on the Israeli side and walked in the direction of the  checkpoint so as to pass through to the Palestinian side. Today we went on Monday and not on Wednesday as usual because Tuesday the holiday of Id al-Adcha starts (the holiday of the sacrifice). Already from the outside we could see that there were few people.  We met H., our friend, on the Israeli side  next to the buses and he also said that there were few people today.

Inside it was completely empty. The turnstiles at the end of the sleeves were open and everyone who arrived went through. The beigel seller told us that today was a day of fasting before the holiday and many people do so. Therefore some of them do not come to work. He says on such a day he loses many customers. He told us that he worked for many years in Israel …building, in a laundry, in a restaurant…whatever. Today he is 68 but has no pension so he sells beigels at the checkpoint so as to make a living. He said that his wife is sick and had to have an operation. But they had to pay 5000 shekel that he managed to collect but he does not know how he will pay it back.

After 6.00 we went outside to checked if anything was happening. We saw nothing new this time. At 6.30 we too went through to the windows. We were slightly delayed because a man who was not used to this was in front of us and each time that Magnometer went off.  The people gave him instructions….take off your belt, take everything out of your pockets, take off your shoes, etc. At last he managed to go through. The passage through took us 20 minutes and because of the holiday there was little traffic and the road to town was open.

Happy holiday.