Qalandiya, Wed 5.10.11, Afternoon

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Ruthi B., Chana T.

Translator:  Charles K.

Between closures, the checkpoint continues operating – humiliating, filthy and evil.

15:45 – All the roads north are packed and jammed.  Vehicles in the right-hand lane are up on the sidewalks.  The returning workers – wave after wave of men rushing home after a workday that began very early – hurry across.

As usual, only two fenced corridors are open, 20-25 people waiting in each.  We’re told it’s already been like this for two hours.  People complain that “children get out of school at 2:00 and get home late.”
Traffic at the northern plaza is slow and jammed up.  The shed is filthy, stinking of urine, and only the fragrance of the lovely guavas at the stand at the entrance refreshes the air a bit.  From a distance, the crossing for people with blue ID’s looks very crowded, since people go through there one by one.

16:15 – There are still only two fenced corridors open, at least 30 people in each.  People aren’t delayed in the pen but the wait is long nevertheless.  It took Ruthie 40 minutes to go through corridor 2, from the time she entered until she came out.  People stand quietly despairing, no pushing, no one talks, only a very little boy loses patience.  Chana is at corridor 4.  It took her 30 minutes to go through.  A group of young people fools around pretending one is blind, another showing him the way.

16:40 – The female soldier closed the fenced passage; Chana says something to her sharply (yelling), the soldier says the order came from “above.”  After a few minutes during which part of the line moved elsewhere, they’re letting people through again, but without forgoing the ceremony:  a man with a very dignified appearace is forced to remove his shoes, humiliated and angry.

The atmosphere, and the contact with the people crossing, is one of quiet bitterness.  We’re viewed somewhat scornfully because of what little we’re able to do, and there’s considerable despair.  The students explain to me that it’s not worth getting angry – anyway, it does no good.  Not here.