Observers: Chana S., Ronit D. (reporting); Translator: Louise L.

A very quiet morning


As we have been doing lately, we parked on the Israeli side and walked across. When, on our way to the crossing, we saw the number of people and cars moving forwards, we realized it was a good day. At the entrance, before we crossed we passed by a large group of praying people. The Palestinian side was almost empty and very quiet.  The bagel and cake vendors were already waiting. All the five check posts were open (at about 5:15). The turnstiles at the end of the fenced-off areas were open. People passed the moment they arrived and went on to wait at the check posts. Everything worked smoothly.

After a short while the blonde policewoman arrived, as usual accompanied by the black cat. Today two black and white cats had joined them. Later on two more policemen arrived as well, but nobody was very busy. Their only task was to direct the people when they saw that a line had formed at a certain check post. Everything was quiet. From time to time the soldiers at the check posts spoke to somebody through the loudspeaker. Most of the time it was hard to understand what they said, but they sounded calm and businesslike.

At 6 o'clock we went to Iman's coffee stand to buy a cup of tea and get warm (even though the cold wasn't too bad and it wasn't windy). When we returned to the covered area we saw that the turnstiles had closed for the first time this morning. But when they opened again everybody passed and they remained open. After a few minutes we saw that P., the officer from the DCO, had arrived. He didn't have anything to do either, since there is no need for the humanitarian gate if there are no lines. Nobody was waiting at the gate.

At 6:30 we crossed as well. It took us only a few minutes.