Qalandiya, Tue 13.8.13, Morning
Translation: Judith Green
A particularly slow morning.
Just like previous Tuesdays the last few weeks, the lines reached deep into the parking lot when we arrived, at 5:45. The pace was particularly slow. We tracked one man in a brightly-colored shirt at the end of one of the lines until he passed through the first turnstile (at the end of one of the cages), and this part of the journey alone took 30 minutes (he still had to wait at the second turnstile leading into the inspection line). Even after that, the pace remained slow. Because of the long wait, there was tension in the air and not a few incidents of pushing at the entrance to the left waiting area (always prone to turbulence) and the people were pressed into this space every time that the turnstile opened and the line began to move.
The policeman responsible for the area sat within the aquarium when we arrived, but didn't come out or make any effort to cope with the delays until the soldier from the DCO arrived at 6:10 in order to open the humanitarian gate. The number of people who had gathered next to the gate during the 2 hours we were there was greater than during the days of Ramadan, and the gate only opened when there was a considerable number of people next to it. As usual, when there are long lines and slow progress, men who are not allowed to go through the humanitarian gate tried their luck and were refused, but there was total order next to the gate.
During Ramadan, the hours of pressure in the morning were over by 7:00. Today, which was the "peak" according to the DCO soldier, it took until 7:45, when the lines were contained within the holding rooms and there was no one next to the humanitarian gate.
This week, we did not see rats running along the straight red beam over the locked latrines, not far from the humanitarian gate. If their absence was a result of the extermination during the week, we are thankful for it. If such work was not done, and the lack of rats was just a coincidence, it is important for those managing the checkpoint to know that there are rats within its area.