Anger and Despair
The Qalandia checkpoint is neither built nor equipped to accommodate the number of people who may pass through it on a standard morning on their way to work, to school, to a hospital, etc., so that the passage through it turns into a daily punishment.
All checking stations were open when we arrived at 5:30 a.m. but the lines were already reaching up to the third row of cars in the parking lot, the progress forward was especially slow – and so the situation remained until after 6:00.
At 65:58 a DCO officer arrived, opened the Humanitarian Gate, and continued to operate it each time a group gathered before it until about 7:00, when he left and the gate remained orphaned. Neither did the police and security guards on site make any attempt to inform the people newly gathered before it whether he was likely to return, and then they too left. The one policewoman who remained on site was closed inside the “Aquarium” and related to no one.
At 6:18, as the result of one or more men trying to “jump the queue” and enter the “cage” on the left through the gap by its entrance, the line discipline collapsed, with all the usual effects, and the scene at the entrances to all three cages dissolved into chaos for about three-quarters of an hour. The lines began to re-form after 7:00 and then again reached out to the second line of cars in the parking lot.
The anger and despair this morning was directed to us, as well. One gentlemen informed us that in another four years “we will overcome you and finish you off,” which is written in some scripture or another. It’s quite unpleasant to hear such things when the speaker is looking us straight in the eye and knows who we are and why we’re there.
The coffee man told us that he has been approached by a DCO officer who informed him that he will have to move his kiosk due to the renovations scheduled to begin whenever (he was unable to tell us a date).
At 7:25 we joined the end of one of the lines in the parking lot, and it took us 45 minutes to reach the exit to the checkpoint. We recalled that a few weeks back a DCO officer told us that during the renovations at Qalandiya, things will get worse before they get better. It’s hard to imagine a situation worse than the present one.