Another hard morning at Qalandiya.
05.20. On arrival on the Israeli side, we meet acquaintances who complain about the bad situation. Although they came early (they arrived at 4.20!!), it took them an hour to pass the checkpoint.
As we got near the checkpoint, we could hear already the noise – and understood that our friends had in fact been lucky. The queues already collapsed and there was now a pile of bags people moved through the fence at the side, to wait for them when they will ultimately get through the turnstiles. At least they can prevent their belongings, if not themselves, being crushed…
The shed Is humming. Older folk, women and others who do not want to, or cannot push, fill the (few) benches and the whole shed. Many already wait at the humanitarian gate. Everyone complain that this has been the situation all week
Soon after 6 o’clock, a soldier arrives to relieve the one in the aquarium, accompanied by a policeman. At 6.15 came a guard, followed by a D.C.O. officer. It took them 2-3 batches to pass all those waiting at the humanitarian gate. The checking was polite but firm: a man on crutches was not allowed through. The policeman also ‘took charge’ of the regular turnstiles and told the soldier when to open them. At least they let in a large number of people each time – allowing long lines to form at the checking stations themselves.
We bought tea at the kiosk that has now moved inside the shed, as shelter from rain.
At 6.40 there were once again queues, with a few young men maintaining order. At about 7, we joined a line and passed through in less than 30 minutes. While we were waiting in line, the humanitarian gate was closed, and the D.C.O. officer and guard departed.