Chana S., Ronit D. (reporting); Translation: Judith Green
A reasonable morning in Qalandiya
We arrived at the checkpoint at about 5:15. Yesterday it was reported that a Palestinian was shot by a guard at the vehicles checkpoint, after he approached the checkpoint and did not respond to commands to stop. The Israeli and the Palestinian sources were divided on the question of whether the man was armed or not. We parked on the Israeli side and made our way by foot to the checkpoint. Usually the passageway for pedestrians inside requires going through several turnstiles, but they were open and it was possible to go through without and security check. Today the first turnstile was locked. While we were still considering what to do, a Palestinian arrived and signaled to us to follow him. We passed through the vehicle checkpoint on foot in the direction of QalandiyaA. Luckily no one tried to arrest us as well as being "suspicious"...
The parking lot was open. The Palestinian behind whom we walked went over to a car parked there. It seemed that he was someone who worked a night shift and was now returning home. We expected to find an enlarged security force inside, but there wasn't. Only at about 5:40 did a policeman and a policewoman arrive. When we arrived, 5 inspection booths were already open and 2 long organized lines were waiting alongside the "cages". A a certain stage, the policeman announced on a loud speaker that the 3 turnstile was open (the one farthest from the aquarium and the spot where we were standing), but people did not pass over to there for some reason. Later,during the morning, all three turnstiles were in use.
Altogether, the lines advanced in a reasonable manner. Because of Ramadan, the bagel and cake sellers do not come and the coffee kiosk was closed. People also did not smoke. Usually everyone is smoking all the time, but during Ramadan there is no smoking. A few women who went through the turnstiles turned to the policeman. It turned out that they wanted to go through without a permit since they were over the permitted age. The policeman explained that they could go through according to the age limits only after 8:00. If they wanted to go through now, they had to produce a work permit, then they could go earlier. There was also an elderly man to whom the policeman gave the same explanation.
Meanwhile, the women joined the lines next to the "cages" at the end, with the result that when P. arrived, the DCO representative, in order to open the Humanitarian Gate, he was at first left without anything to do. But later, when there were lines, he opened the Humanitarian Gate from time to time for women and others who were eligible. Later on, they explained to the older women that they had to wait until 8:00 on the benches, and they didn't go through yet. Other policemen and guards arrived, and, in answer to someone's question to the policeman, a discussion developed concerning the new orders about who was eligible to go through without permits on Fridays. We also had heard on the news that it had been decided to be stricter in comparison to the first 2 Fridays, in the light of the recent events. It seemed that the new orders were also not clear yet for our own forces. Later, we asked the guard what exactly had happened yesterday with the man who was shot at the vehicles checkpoint, but he hadn't even heard about it. Nevertheless, he wasn't exactly disturbed to hear that a man had been shot. "One less", he said. We informed him that the man hadn't died, but was only wounded and hospitalized.
At 6:30, we joined the lines which had shortened and passed through in about a quarter of an hour. We managed to see that P. had left and had told people who had approached the gate that the Humanitarian Gate wouldn't be opened again today.