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Natanya G. and Phyllis (reporting)

Once again we encountered a terrific traffic jam at the southern entrance to the CP that was resolved only when the soldiers opened the Great Gate in the Wall.  When we finally reached the pedestrian CP, we found everything as usual and rather calm.  We noticed an elderly couple looking quite bewildered standing by the fence around the entrance guard’s post.  We walked over to talk to them and learned that the husband had been released earlier that day from a hospital in Nablus after having undergone an operation 3 days earlier and they were trying to return to their home in Gaza.  At the hospital they had been told that there was a permit to enter Israel waiting for them at the DCO in Qalandiya, but they had not been able to enter the DCO and didn’t know what to do.  We phoned headquarters and spoke with a soldier who called himself “S---” and who promised to help.  It took him a while but in the end the couple was allowed to enter Israel in order to get home to Gaza.

During our shift we noticed that passage through the CP was getting slower and that lines in the two active passageways were getting longer and longer.  From the parking lot we saw that the line at the passageway for bus passengers was also very long.  From the parking lot we also saw an ambulance waiting in the vehicle CP while his Jerusalem counterpart waited on the Israeli side.   We don’t know how long it had waited before we saw it but we immediately called S. who told us that a transfer had been coordinated and that the ambulances would soon be able to get together.  “Soon” took 20 minutes.

When we left Qalandiya at 17:15 lines in the 2 CP passageways and in the bus CP were still very long.