Qalandiya - The used masks are now being added to the dirt and garbage everywhere
West Jerusalem was barely stirring when I collected Chana at 6 a.m., but when we arrived 15 minutes later, Qalandiya was already mid-day busy. The square before the checkpoint was full of cars waiting to collect workers, together with cars coming from Qalandiya which had passed the vehicles checkpoint. We photographed form below (from some distance) the pedestrian bridge and the people on it, and afterward the view from the bridge onto the square.
The Palestinians don't seem to believe in masks. They all have masks – either on their chins or in hands or pockets. When entering the checkpoint they must put them on and in Jerusalem itself. But few wear them over mouth and nose as required. So what do they do with masks as they return from Jerusalem? There is a covered passage here with turnstiles at each end. Some people toss their masks on the ground (maybe a bin should be placed here?); many hang their masks on the pillars supporting the turnstiles - giving us the surrealist picture:
When we passed to the Palestinian side we saw that there were in fact large bins used by the hawkers who sell fruit and vegetables later in the day. But there are not enough bins and cartons and refuse overflows.
Our friend Abu Ramzi stands with his beigel cart. As we approach he raises his mask to cover his nose. People stop to chat with him. If we understood correctly, they criticize him for speaking with Jews. He explains that we are friends and help him. And he sends greetings to hasn't seen for a while. Making a living is hard, especially in Corona time. People sit at home, afraid to go out. His grandchildren have just returned to school after being months at home (Ramadan, corona, summer break).
The movement inside the checkpoint is smooth on the whole. For a moment, the entrances were closed and lines formed, but this soon passed. Apparently there is an attempt to control the numbers inside because of Corona.
Next to the tea kiosk, there is a notice of Rafet Fialeh offering office services to handle business with the D.C.O.
At about 7 we entered the checkpoint and passed in a few minutes.
On the way outside we noticed that the area south of the checkpoint had been cleaned – even behind the low wall where people often sit and throw their trash. An unusually thorough cleaning operation.
On the other side, however, there is a lot of trash. Perhaps the section right next to the checkpoint is the municipality's responsibility? No one seems to be cleaning there. The toilet building is closed, with filth around – even a black cat refuses to go near …