Qalandiya

Observers: 
Orit Dekel, Ofra Tene, Nili Fischer, Michal Weiner (reporting); Translator:  Charles K.
31/03/2017
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Morning

When we arrived at 09:10 the place was especially filthy with a strong odor of urine.  The benches had been moved aside for some reason.  Two lines stretched from the entrance to the end of the canopied area.  All the entrances inside were operating but nothing seemed to be moving within.  A man standing near the entrance said he’s already been waiting half an hour during which time no one had gone through.  We telephoned the DCL and told them things aren’t moving.  The soldier promised to look into it.

At 09:19 a large group entered.  The line outside was reduced by half but refilled quickly.  One of the Modi’in Ezrachi staffers who was on site said the soldiers have been working since 04:00 and are trying to do their best.  He promised to contact his superiors and try to speed thing up.  Soon the line again reached the end of the canopied area.  At 09:20 another large group entered.  One of those waiting who was on his way to a meeting said “How will I arrive after such humiliation.  It’s like Auschwitz here.”  A woman standing beside him added, “We no longer have the strength to stand.”

In response to our request to Modi’in Ezrahi (a private company) staffers to open the humanitarian gate for an elderly man with a cane, we were told that only a DCL representative is authorized to do so, and they themselves don’t even have a key.  We wondered how they open the gate for someone in a wheelchair, since as we were told on a previous visit they’re authorized to open it in such cases.

At 09:35 another large group entered and the number waiting was halved.  Suddenly shouting was heard from the gatesinfo-icon inside – a Modi’in Ezrachi staffer yelled at those waiting, asking for quiet.  When he saw me making notes he said, “Go ahead, write it down, I’m telling them so there won’t be a fight.”  He said to a staffer beside him, “Let her write what she wants, she’s nothing to me.”

Meanwhile the line outside again reached the end of the canopied area.  One man said he comes every Friday and sometimes they wait two or three hours.  In the morning the soldiers try to move through those who are going early to work and thousands cross quickly.  Those coming to pray are let through slowly.09:41 most of those waiting had entered.  About ten minutes later the line had lengthened again and the inner lines had also become more crowded.  At 09:50 we noticed movement at the inner gates but the line outside still stretched to the end of the canopied area.  At 10:00 the number waiting outside had halved and at 10:15 the place was almost empty.