'Anata, Qalandiya, Thu 20.5.10, Morning
Summary: An almost pleasant watch.
There was a constant stream of workers coming through. Passage was very quick and lines hardly formed. When we arrived, the ecumenical volunteers remarked that there was a lot of shouting, but it turned out to be a loudspeaker announcing that gate 5 was open and available. It is a pity that the loudspeaker (perhaps through bad quality?) turns even a helpful announcement into what sounds like a harsh order.
We were struck by the fact that there were very few women and no pupils, even by the time we left just before 7 a.m. Nobody that we asked could explain why this was so.
A driver in the parking lot asked us for help as he has been prohibited entry by Security. We gave him Sylvia's phone number.
Apart from the usual traffic jams, the crowded bus parking-lot, and the crowds of children dodging between the cars so as to reach their buses, things on the whole were relatively calm. It is a miracle that there have been no accidents among the little children (as far as we know), as they all have to cross the road to get from the checkpoint on one side to the school buses on the other, without any pedestrian crossing.
The officer in charge of the crossing was particularly friendly to us, though his subordinates checked i.d.'s and occupants of cars meticulously, particularly those driven by women. The council chief, as he drove past, told us everything was in order and paid compliments to the officer.