02:00 We left Omer for Tarqumiyya
02:45 We reach Tarqumiyya. The kiosks are open, the pita seller arrives to open his kiosk at 01:00. The cage is already full when we arrive; the first arrive at 24.
03:00 The number of people arriving increases, the line grows longer and longer.
We told that a week ago someone died while crossing. Later we investigated and learned he hadn’t died, he’d fainted or had a stroke and was taken to the hospital.
We spoke to a few people: the first told us he works ten hours a day in Ashqelon and returns home every evening. He reaches the checkpoint at 3 AM to ensure he’ll go through by 6, or else he’ll miss his ride and lose a day of work. His transportation departs at 06:15.
A second said he’s an agricultural worker in a nearby moshav. His employer charges him
NIS 2000 each month for the work permit, of which NIS 600 goes to the government and the rest is “highway robbery.”
03:24 The bus from Hebron arrives, full of workers.
03:32 Initial congestion, a hint of what’s to come.
03:43 The young men start climbing the fences and push into the cage.
03:45 The gate opens, people run to the inspection lanes.
03:51 The revolving gate closes.
03:52 The revolving gate opens.
Etc., etc. Today the line was never long, only tense, people climbing on the fences. 2,747 Palestinians crossed by 05:00.
We see for the first time an attempt to order the line by the man selling the Jawal cards (the Palestinian telephone company).
05:15 The line is very short. We’ve never seen such a thing.
05:15 No line, and whoever arrives immediately enters the cage, which is empty. Nor is the parking lot as full as it was on our previous visits.
05:37 A group of people praying in the cage, whoever arrives passes through quickly.
06:00 We take the Swedish woman for a quick tour of the Israeli side and then return her to the Palestinian side and drive back home.
Later the internationals informed us that by the time they’d left at 07:00 an additional 1,585 people had crossed.