Hizma, Qalandiya

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Virginia Syvan, Hedva and Dean (guests), Ina Friedman (reporting)

A cold, swift morning


All five checking stations were open when we arrived at 5:00 a.m. The pace of movement through the “cages” ranged from reasonable to good, and at 6:30 the cages were already empty and the turnstile at the end of the left cage was left open for all newcomers to enter freely.


The Civil Administrationinfo-icon soldier came out at 6:05 and opened the Humanitarian Gate twice. But toward 6:30, as the lines waiting to go through the cages shortened, she stopped opening the gate and sent those who gathered before it to join the standard lines. When we asked about the policy regarding the Humanitarian Gate, she said that they opened it at her discretion. Period.


We left at 6:30 and on our way to  Hizmeh checkpoint we noted that improvements have been made on Road 60 chose to the Qalandiya checkpoint. After the traffic circle where cars and trucks from Kufer Akeb and Ramallah continue to the Qalandiya vehicle checkpoint, the road going southeast toward a-Ram has been widened to four lanes with a separation barrier between the two directions and a traffic circle has been added at the junction where one turns left toward a-Ram and the settlement of Geva Benyamin. These changes are a boon to the traffic going eastward, toward a-Ram and further into the West Bank, and is a welcome safety measure. But unfortunately they do not resolve the infamous morning traffic jam of cars and trucks headed for the Qalandiya vehicle checkpoint.