Qalandiya - "Nothing's useful here" said one man in line, and advised us to go home and go to sleep

Virginia Syvan, I. (journalist from Brazil), Ina Friedman (reporting)

Routine of Occupation

All five security-check stations were open when we arrived at 5:30 a.m. It was less cold than we had anticipated (another element of checkpoint life that you can’t forecast from one morning to the next), and the lines reached the curb of the new internal road outside. But the first time (since our arrival) that the soldier responsible for the turnstiles opened them, he allowed a large number of people through, so that, for the most part, the lines remained inside the shed. The falafel maker was back in the shed, infusing the air with the sharp odor of frying oil. At least you have to give the man credit for persistence.

After the change of the guard at 6:00, the new soldier in charge of the turnstiles continued to allow large numbers of people through, so there was less of a danger of the lines collapsing (as, we were told, they had the previous morning). Nevertheless, a man standing in one of the lines stopped us, as we passed by him, to recommend that we go home and go back to sleep, since at any rate nothing anyone attempts does any good here. There was no point in trying to encourage him since he is here day after day after day, and essentially there is no remedy for his despair other than the end of the occupation.

The Humanitarian Gate was opened at 6:05 (“Applause!”) by a Civil Administration officer and security guard and operated smoothly until 7:00.

At that same hour, the “cages” (three bar-lined passages with a turnstile at the end) were already empty and the turnstile of the left cage remained open to all newcomers. We too passed through it and exited the checkpoint, after the security check, within 20 minutes.