Qalandiya, Mon 7.11.11, Afternoon
15:30: The northern shed was full of people celebrating the holiday. About 50 men, women and children stood in each of the three lines leading to the turnstiles. Inside the CP we could see that all 5 passageways were active (including the DCO lane), with a considerable number of people waiting in line in each of them. The lines in the northern shed were not moving, just growing longer and longer. We phoned the Humanitarian Hotline to ask if they could speed things up but their answer was that the soldiers on duty were doing the best they could. We suggested that they open the Humanitarian Passageway for all the women and children and were told that they would check and see what could be done. Actually, nothing at all was done, the Humanitarian Passageway remained closed, but somehow it seemed that the lines began to move a little bit faster.
We walked over to see what was happening at the passageway for bus passengers at the western end of the CP. The passageway looked deserted – no people waiting in line and no buses waiting to pick up passengers. On the other hand, there were several buses waiting in the old parking lot at the eastern exit from the CP. It appeared as though the bus passageway was shut for the holiday, but there was no one to ask.
The holiday crowding continued all afternoon with only slight fluctuations in the number of people waiting in the northern shed. We spoke with a young man wearing a white coat and timed his passage (it was easy to track his progress from a distance): just to enter the CP from the line in the northern shed took him 35 minutes.
We met and spoke with several groups of tourists who were also waiting in the lines to return to Jerusalem from a visit to Ramallah. They found the crowded and filthy conditions at Qalandiya very impressive (and not in a positive sense, of course).