A calm morning at Qalandiya.
06.15. After a long corona-induced break, we returned to Qalandiya. When we arrived at 6.15 we saw relatively few people on the Israel side but a steady flow of people on the pedestrian bridge. On our way to the bridge, we were already accosted by a couple of people with problems of entry permission, whom we referred to Sylvia's team. They invited us to drink coffee with them, but we explained we had to see what was happening on the Palestinian side.
On the Palestinian side, we found two entrances that had green signs and they stayed open all the time. There were no queues and everyone arriving entered right away. There is a new large poster at one entrance entitled "Green suits you" with, written underneath, "I am well, my neighbor is well, the city is well." Does this refer to Corona?
We were happy to meet Abu Ramzi, the beigel seller. Now that the gate facing the refugee camp is closed, everyone approaches the checkpoint from the (east) Al-Ram direction, so he stands at that entrance. He was in a good mood – now that he has had his cataract operation his sight has much improved. He thanks all our members who helped finance this. He said he had the operation in Ramallah where he had a general medical checkup, with favorable results.
Abu Ramzi says he now brings less merchandise [less weight to pull?]. He arrives at about 4.30 when there are already people passing through, and stays until he has sold everything. When we came he had already run out of eggs and falafel balls, and the few remaining beigels vanished while we were there. According to him, there isn't much corona about and everything is okay.
The "kiosk" is now located in a large commercial vehicle in the parking lot. We met Muhammed but could not buy tea as they had run out of gas. We returned to the checkpoint where all was calm. We waited until 7 o'clock and then entered – and were through in a couple of minutes.
As soon as one exits on the Israeli side, one is confronted by the pedestrian bridge which one can cross either by climbing up steps or by a winding ramp. At the beginning of the ramp is a concrete wall supporting the end of the bridge close to the ground. Young folk exploit this to jump over and avoid the long schlep over the bridge. True, the bridge is intended for the safety of those crossing the road, but this is much quicker.
On the way back to our car, we were happy to see the sun lighting up a field next to the road, green and fresh and dotted with anemones. But the phone camera could not do them justice.