Qalandiya, Mon 29.10.12, Morning

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Judy Orstav and Maya Bailey (reporting)


Translator: Charles K.


05:50 We join a lengthy winding line at Qalandiya of people waiting quietly for a long time, strangely accepting.

The humanitarian gate is locked; only three of the five inspection booths operate… We ask why; the DCO officer tells us those are the instructions. A police commander standing near him isn’t obligated to answer me. After some long minutes the remaining booths nevertheless opened and the line disappeared much more rapidly. I understood that the person in charge of opening the crossing thought that the holiday of Eid al Adha was still underway and saw no reason to adapt the instructions to the situation on the ground and make it easier for the laborers instead of making things unbearable. After we had stood there for about an hour there was a sudden outbreak of shoving because of frustration and anger at the long wait.


There were also a number of families with many little children at the checkpoint who’d received permits to visit relatives in Jerusalem. The permits were valid for 08:00 but they’d already arrived at six to have a little more time with the relatives they hadn’t seen for a long time. The DCO officer tried to help them but the police commander very rudely sent them to the dark waiting room, where not even one neon light was working. The argument that only laborers are supposed to cross at this hour didn’t justify the way they were treated.


It was extremely moving to see the excited little children, all dressed up, who’d risen in the middle of the night and were very tired, waiting quietly for the police commander who refused to let them cross before eight. The people had come to Qalandiya from Nablus; they told us that the family in Jerusalem has never met the children.