A busy morning at Qalandiya, the lines collapsing a few times.
05.15. Already as we approached on foot from the Israeli side, we could see that on the Palestinian side long queues extending into the parking lot. 5 checking stations were open. When the turnstiles were opened, the third one was not. We thought that perhaps it was still/again out of order, but when those waiting in the third lane started shouting, the soldier opened that one, too.
At 6 o’clock there was still no sign of ‘our forces.’ Women who waited at the humanitarian gate gave up and turned to the regular lines. The men in the leftmost lane let them fit in. A bit later a guard arrived, wandered around the aquarium and observed the queues, but only at about 6.20 did a D.C.O. officer arrive and he opened the gate a few minutes later.
We went outside to buy tea. The lines stretched to the parking lot, although shorter than before. But soon after we returned the lines collapsed. After a while they re-formed and there were some men among those waiting who tried to maintain order. But once they themselves joined the line and entered the cage, the lines collapsed again.
Only at about 7.30 did the lines get reasonably short. At about 7.45 we joined a line. While we were waiting, we saw that they were beginning to allow through the humanitarian gate also the older folk who are allowed through only at 8 o’clock. When we reached the line at the checking station we saw that the D.C.O. officer had left. At the checking station were two little girls in school clothing. The older was desperately searching her school bag. Apparently they had forgotten their birth certificates which would allow them to pass. At one point they decided to try anyway to pass. They entered together with us and had already reached the final – exit – turnstile when the soldier in the checking station called them to go back. After all, there has to be order, without a certificate even little girls on their way to school (with their school bags already checked) are a security threat …
Even at that ‘slack’ time it took us 35 minutes to pass.