Qalandiya Terminal, the crossing between East Jerusalem and Ramallah is often the first military checkpoint visitors cross when entering the West Bank. During the second intifada the Israeli state began transforming the old Qalandiya checkpoint into a ‘terminal’, similar to an international border, the process has cost between $32 and $34 million and has delivered hefty profits to the contractors involved.
One of those contractors is Elbit, a large Israeli arms/security company, whose technology can be seen all over the West Bank. People crossing Qalandiya from Ramallah to Jerusalem are monitored by Elbit CCTV cameras as they pass through turnstiles, carrying the brand or product name ‘Alarm’, to be barked at over a tannoy by soldiers inside a plate glass booth. The terminal also boasts a ‘Shamrad’ intercom system. Elbit received a contract to provide security systems for the the Jerusalem Envelope section of the Wall (Masu’a system).
For more information on Elbit see
Once through the turnstile travellers belongings must be passed through a Rapiscan scanner. Rapiscan are a US company whose investors include Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings and AXA. The scanners are installed through its Israeli representative, Hashmira, Israel’s largest private security company, which is 70% owned by G4S.
For more information on Rapiscan see
For more information on Hashmira see
Fingerprint recognition systems at Qalandiya are provided by Schlage, a US based company (see http://recognitionsystems.schlage.com/products/). Schlage is part of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. Its website pronounces, in unashamedly Orwellian language, that “Real security sets you free”.
Over the next few days Qalandiya will be a source of misery and frustration to Palestinians as the Israeli defence minister has announced that the West Bank will be ‘closed’ from Friday 26th February 2010 for four days for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Closures generally mean that West Bank Palestinians, even those with permits, will not be allowed to cross to Jerusalem.