Qalandiya for the well-traveled and Qalandiya DCO
We set out to Calandia, after a long time during which we hadn’t visited it. We arrived by foot and went to the “horror bridge” barrier. The “monster” darkens the entire surroundings – a twisting snake, a mass of concrete, a real pain in the eye. In order to find the entrance to the “monster” we had to get help from the passers-by. Together with a young woman who pushed a baby carriage, we mounted the “monster”. We began a trek to the “promised land” – the Calandia checkpoint. This is a matter for excellent walkers only. A long winding interminable corridor, the logic for its establishment and location remaining a puzzle for us. But we know already that our logic and that of the occupation administration is not identical.
The entrance by foot to the checkpoint from the north, direction Ramallah, is so unclear that there is no wonder that whoever does not know the place, tends to go straight into the death trap, the passage for vehicles. The deaf mute man who made this mistake is a clear example of this situation. During the continuation of our presence at the place, we had a conversation with the security person who confirmed, although quite embarrassedly, that our diagnosis was right – “this is indeed sad” he said…
Calandia DC0. The entrance to the DCO too requires a detective sense, but after some considerations and errors – we found it!!! In the waiting area about 20 men and women who had arrived early were waiting. The DCO is opened at 08:30 only. Some of the waiting people were those who had, until recently, received service at the Olive Checkpoint DCO. Recently this DCO had been closed and all those who required a magnetic card and other DCO services were obliged to trudge to Calandia, a trip of about 40 minutes, provided there are not traffic jams, and an expense of 40 shekels in each direction. The transfer to a digital system, a punishment for many Palestinians who are not connected to the internet and do not know how to activate digital systems, caused the shutting down of “small” DCOs. That’s what we say: money for the settlers, the ministers and their deputies and the rest of these issues is found, but the Palestinians – what is the matter? Are you crazy to spend money on “nothing”?!!
At 08:35 the door was opened and an armed officer rolled a big ventilator to the entrance, which cooled the waiting area. Near the turnstile entrance a telephone was put up, which served as a thermometer. Every person who passed was checked and everybody wore regulation masks (the nose covered as well). The passage was quick and flowing, and all the time more people, who needed some service, arrived and joined the queue. We waited to see when those who passed through the exit turnstile would appear, and were glad to see that all returned within a few moments. To our question we were answered that now, at the Corona period, they open at the DCO eight posts for the receipt of magnetic cards, and five for other matters. So the poison goblet too is sometimes half full… To our regret the entrance to the DCO itself wasn’t possible and there was no way to peep inside.
While waiting for the opening of the DCO we had a long conversation with one of the waiting men, who spoke fluent Hebrew. We felt that at the beginning he was wary (perhaps we are from the Security Service… after all this is not a completely unfounded thought, they have after all the arms of an octopus and are even able to enlist two old ladies…) but after some time he opened up. He did not renew anything. We had already heard – and identified with – all the anger and sorrow and frustration of the Palestinians, but it was not easy to hear it where we were and in the presence of the other persons around us. In the end he asked for our help for his son who is refused entrance. We gave him the phone number of Sylvia’s group. Among the waiting people there was a woman who had no documents and who told us the she was on her way to receive support\money from a generous man. As she was without any documents she was naturally absolutely refused. We contributed a bit from our side. An elderly woman who had difficulty hearing was on her way to visit her hospitalized husband. She was afraid she would be refused, but received the longed for authorization. And the rest – each and his needs. The daily life of the Palestinians, and there is nothing more cruel than the license regime.
We arrived at the checkpoint at 07:20 and left at 09:35.