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Chana S., Ronit D. (reporting); Translator: Louise L.

A loaded but quiet morning


We parked before the checkpoint and walked over to the other side. At the entrance in the direction of Qalandiya, a large group of people was praying. We saw that some Palestinians walked past them and so did we.

We were happy to see that at 5:15 all the 5 check posts had already opened. The lines were quite long but everything was quiet. The few women who arrived were allowed to join the line at the entrance to the fenced-off areas.  As time passed the lines got longer, but still no disruptions. People told us that some days are all right and others are bad. They claimed that it depends on the soldiers and at what pace they let people through and whether they focus on their task or keep talking to each other on their smartphones. Here people hadn't heard about the strike at Irtah on Sunday. Some of them had heard about Yoram Cohen's report about checkpoint 300 (Bethlehem) on Channel 1, and that the situation had been better this week.

At about 6:00 the lines already reached the parking. H. arrived and told us that friends, a Jewish couple, had visited him on the weekend. When they crossed the checkpoint on their way back the man was detained by the police. He was told that it was forbidden to enter the A area. Why do they insist on keeping us apart, preventing us from being friends like normal people, H. asked…He told us that on Sunday the situation at Qalandiya had been very bad. So later, he went to the "Olive" checkpoint, which also had been very crowded.

Shortly after 6:00, a female soldier arrived (to take over from the soldier in the aquarium). Security guard P. also arrived and the DCO sergeant. A policeman had arrived earlier. People were already waiting at the humanitarian gate. After getting organized they opened the gate and P. kept opening it, sometimes for a single person. Sometimes, P. refused to let some of the men through, since evidently, they didn't have any permits to cross at the humanitarian gate. Quietly and politely they were asked to join the regular line, and the Palestinians didn't argue.

At a certain point, one more female soldier (the blonde) arrived and following her was the black cat, "the Prince of Qalandiya ". Only he gets a warm welcome, and only he can run around freely without having to wait at the gatesinfo-icon to pass though the fence…

6:35 – Another female soldier arrived. The lines were still very long. Only at 6:50 did the lines begin to get shorter. At about 7:00, we also crossed at the humanitarian gate. P. told us that he had been away on a course, and that was why we hadn't seen him for such a long time. We told him that during his absence people were not treated as well as in his presence.

The passage was rather quick this time, 10 minutes.