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Chana S., Varda S.,Idit M., Ronit D. (reporting); Translator: Ayala S.

A difficult morning at Qalandiya. The humanitarian lane opened late and only briefly, although many security personnel were present there.


5:15: We parked on the Israeli side and walked through. It was still dark and cold. Outside the crowd was loud – many people and vehicles, particularly buses and transits from East Jerusalem. The five checking posts were functioning and the lines were spilling over into the parking area. At this stage, women were still able to join in the lines to the pens. But the pushing intensified and we were worried of the possibility that the lines would collapse.


5:45: Indeed, that's what happened! Instead of three orderly lines at the entrance to the pens we had a mob of people pushing and climbing over one another. Older and more careful folks retreated into the background. Some realized that their workday was already ruined. The womenfolk didn't even attempt to join the lines. Some walked over to the humanitarian post but a policeman who had just arrived announced that it wouldn't open. Then he said he'd try to find out.


6:00: The humanitarian lane, due to open at 6, opened at 6:35, after some more personnel had arrived: two policemen, a soldier, two-three security persons. We phoned some three times but don't know to what avail. And finally at 6:35, the two Matak officers that had arrived to open the gate, began checking with the policemen the validity of those carrying the required permits. We overheard the girl soldier explaining that passage through the humanitarian gate was only possible for a sick person with an authorization. She also instructed the soldier in the aquarium when to open and close the turnstiles. Gradually three lines began to take shape again.


We took a tea break at A's kiosk and observed the heavy traffic at the square. Returning at 7:00 it was all calm, merely three long lines proceeding. The two Matak people had left but the police staff occasionally made use of the humanitarian passage. At 7:10 they announced that it wouldn't open further.


At 7:15 we joined the line and it took us 25 minutes to pass through.