A group of us waited in a rather short line designed for pedestrians-only (in contrast to the line for cars that backed up for a mile or two) at the checkpoint. It felt surreal, like how I imagined Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin before their Wall came down. We, a bunch of Westerners and East Asians, stood in the Qalandia checkpoint line that would allow us to enter Israel-controlled Area C from the ostensibly Palestinian-controlled Area A in the West Bank.
The turnstile allowed two people into the metal detector area at a time and we each had a difficult time getting through. The woman in front of me from Berlin had the most difficult time. She tried about 25 to 30 times to go through the turnstile, but each time she pushed it to go through, she was denied entry; it was still locked.
Though we could not see any Israeli “border” guards, for they use multiple cameras strategically placed to view us, I had the feeling that they must be laughing to themselves at the Berlin woman’s repeated attempts to go through the turnstile and continuously being denied access. A couple times, because of how the turnstile worked, the Berlin woman was locked inside the turnstile metal grates and because she could not go forward towards the metal detector area where passports are given to Israeli guards, she had no other option but to come back towards us (rather than stay locked within the metal grates).