Qalandiya , 21.3.2011, afternoon

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Natanya G. and Phyllis W. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?



15:45, Qalandiya:  Yesterday was Purim and there was closureinfo-icon on the territories.  Only those with blue ID cards were allowed to cross the checkpoints.  So the IDF apparently decided to work in a holiday mode even though the Palestinians were not celebrating and went to work and university as on a weekday.  When they reached Qalandiya on their way back home they found that only two passageways were operating in the pedestrian CP, one of which was reserved for people without any bags or packages, because the x-ray machine was out of order.  To reserve a passageway for people with no packages or bags appears to us to be a clear case of discrimination against women (who ever saw a woman without a bag?)!!  And, actually, one passageway was practically empty while all the people huddled into the other one.  As a result, a long line of about 40 people had formed in the northern shed.  We waited more than 20 minutes just to get inside the CP.  We phoned headquarters, which transferred us to the DCO Representative Amir, and explained to him what was happening.  We suggested that he speak to the Passageway Unit and tell them to send the soldiers in the passageway with the broken machine to a passageway where the machine was not broken (if they didn't have enough soldiers to man a third passageway).  We didn't really believe that this would help, but we tried.  Fifteen minutes later we returned to see that Passageway 4 had been closed and Passageway 3 was operating instead (with an x-ray machine). 

In the western part of the CP, for bus passengers, there was also a long line of people waiting in the entrance shed.  Conditions had not improved by 5 PM when we left Qalandiya.

We returned to Jerusalem via Lil/Jabba and Hizmeh CPs.  Traffic was flowing in both.