Qalandiya, Sun 30.6.13, Morning

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Ronny P., Marcia L. (Reporter)

When we arrived at 05:00, there was already a long line. The women representing the World Council of Churches had been there since 04:30 and said the lines had been moving efficiently.  The soldier inside the control booth was an Arab-speaker and gave all the instructions clearly over the loudspeaker. This soldier also opened the carousels at a reasonable speed and there were no complaints from the workers at that point. At around 05:20, the policeman who is in charge of the area arrived, entered the control booth, and spoke with the soldier.  Afterward, the situation changed and the carousels opened lessoften and the lines grew.  One of the workers asked us, “Aren’t we human beings?  Why don’t they relate to us as human beings?”

At 06:20, the Humanitarian Gate was not yet open.  The second soldier, whose duty it was to check permits and let people through at the Humanitarian Gate, entered the area very slowly, with coffee in hand.  He did not open the gate until the security guard came, in another 10 minutes.  In the meantime, the second soldier went into the control booth to finish his coffee.  The people standing at the Humanitarian Gate saw this and asked us to help. Among those waiting for the gate to open were three tall, well-dressed men.  One of the men explained that they had a court case on a complaint they made about appropriation of their land and they had to get to the court in time.  The soldier looked at them and said, “It’s OK.  The courts don’t open until 9:00.”  The Humanitarian Gate finally opened at about 06:30.

On the same morning, two representatives of “Blue and White,” visited Kalandia to observe the process of passing through the checkpoint.  They saw the incident with the three men who had court appearances, but did not interfere as we did.  After 20 or 30 minutes, when the lines thinned out, the two representatives began to speak with the two soldiers on duty—as colleagues—not as observers who wanted to encourage fast and efficient passage.