Qalandiya

Place: 
Observers: 
Baudoin Loos, a journalist from the Belgian newspaper Le Soir; a retired EU diplomat who served here; and Hanna Barag (reporting); Translator:  Charles K.
Apr-23-2017
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Morning

I arrived at Qalandiya at 04:30 and there was no line.  All the booths were open and the revolving gate turned uninterrupted. The guests arrived toward 05:00 and were “astonished” everything was so “empty.”  Only at about 05:30 did a line form.  The “humanitarian” crossing didn’t open even though many people needed it.  After a few phone calls a policeman appeared, extremely rude, and opened the gate a limited number of times.  I’ll skip over the behavior of those covering up for him, the civilian company running the checkpoint, because paper can’t bear what I have to tell.

We managed to find a pleasant young woman, training to be a nurse, who agreed to speak with the guests.  She bravely detailed what life is like under occupation.  She refused, of course, to give her name – and rightly so.

After years at Qalandiya I still haven’t gotten accustomed to the injustice this checkpoint represents, as do all the others.  Where there’s no reasonable freedom of movement there’s no life, and any reference to how often the revolving gate turns only conceals the occupation and its wrongs.  The cages don’t improve over the years – more razor wire above and one more humiliating lane – and we’ll continue crying out again and again at the crime, and no one will listen and we’ll continue because it’s our job and our obligation.

I left at 08:00; there was still a line.

We already described the bitter cold at Qalandiya during the 16 years we’ve been there – and yesterday was no different.  Freezing cold!