8 October 2018, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestinian Territories: Today is a Monday, and Qalandiya is crowded with men of all ages queuing to go to work. People are let through intermittently, some 20-50 people at a time, all under careful control of Israeli security personnel. Qalandiya has three turnstiles, each preceded by a narrow metal pathway made to constrain more than one person from going through at a time. As one turnstile is suddenly closed shut, people rush, push and climb to make it into one of the other two. Qalandiya is the main checkpoint between the northern West Bank and Jerusalem, where thousands upon thousands of Palestinians try to make their way to Jerusalem each day. Ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) from the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) visit regularly in the early mornings. Their task is to be an international presence and to show solidarity, offer basic support to anyone denied passage, and collect documentation of the situation at the checkpoint. EAs’ reports feed into the UN system, providing ongoing monitoring of the human rights situation in Israel and Palestine.
- Albin Hillert, all rights reserved
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