Qalandiya - Wishing that every morning were like this

Virginia Syvan, Ina Friedman (reporting)

A Morning as It Should Be

On the way from the parking lot to the checkpoint, we discussed the high rate of Covid infection in the West Bank, reminding ourselves to keep our distance in talking with Palestinians or waiting in line because it was only last week that Israel began vaccinating Palestinians who have work permits to enter Israel. We reached our destination at 6:00 and at first thought the checkpoint was empty. But as we got closer to the steps leading to it we saw a light but constant stream of people arriving through the only entrance to the compound, from the east. Except for a few minutes between about 6:30 and 6:45, all three entrances to the building were open (only the middle one was closed during this time). Closer to 7:00 the flow increased but nowhere near the point where it caused the creation of lines. In short, a steady flow inward, just like during the opening days of the new checkpoint.

The traffic jam on the road leading into the vehicle checkpoint also continued without letup and was particularly noisy this morning.

No one approached us to ask for help. We paid a short visit to Abu Ramzi, the bagel seller, at the entrance to the compound, and all is well with him (except for his income).

We left at 7:15 when the flow decreased. Our transit into and through the checkpoint was quick and easy until we reached the document check. With only one soldier on duty for this purpose, a line formed by his booth of people who do not carry biometric permits (which are checked by machine) and must therefore show an appropriate document to the soldier and receive his permission (a nod of the head) to continue forward and out of the checkpoint. Of course, no one practiced social distancing on that line. But we stood there for only a few minutes.

Would that every morning were like this at Qalandiya.