Qalandiya, Tue 11.6.13, Morning
This morning we've gone back to the old bad days in Qalandiya in terms of passage time. When we arrived at 5:40 there were already long lines and they kept growing longer as time went by.
A volunteer from the EAPPI group stood in line and it has taken her 40 minutes to cross to the other side. When we left at 7:30 the line were still long . We haven't seen such a site in the middle of the week for months. The DCO soldier on site could not explain it.
The humanitarian gate opened at 6:15 and later it would open only when people gather around it. A problem at inspection post # 5 (for humanitarian causes) was fixed within a few minutes.
Prior to our departure we were approached by a man whom we met two weeks ago and once again he asked for our help retrieving his passage permit that had been taken away from him for the second time in two weeks. Last time he had to pay a fine and the permit was given back to him right on the spot. This time he is worried as to the fate of his permit. When we left he waited for the DCO post to open at 8:30. We spoke over the phone at 11:30 when the DCO reported that the problem was technical only (he needs to renew his magnetic card) and at this time he awaits the new card. When we spoke later that day he said that he waited until 2:00 p.m. when he was told that the problem was not the magnetic card but rather his fingers' print which can be fixed only at the Nablus DCO. The person rushed to Nablus where he was told that the matter can be taken care of only on this coming Sunday,. That means losing a day's work. In the end there was a female soldier who felt sorry for him and fixed the matter in a few minutes. The man had returned to Qalandiya and went through the checkpoint.
This is the second time in two weeks that we hear of people that were ordered to wait at the Qalandiya checkpoint and were forgotten there. In the case at hand the man had waited long hours until he was sent to another DCO. In a previous case a man who came to pick up his permit was told to wait in small room, isolated in sleeve #5 and only due to a MachsomWatch person who had followed him, he was rescued.
The sign with the DCO telephone number has been replaced with a sign for calling on weekends and holidays only. The sign with the opening hours of the humanitarian gate (6:15) was taken down.