Cold and calm.
As we’ve done recently, we parked on the Israeli side. A strong wind blew; the weather was very cold. We detoured around a large group of worshippers at the entrance and went through. At 05:15 all five lanes were open on the Palestinian side (although the screen over Lane 1 shows red, as if it’s closed). The beigel and pastry sellers are already here and Ayman’s coffee stall is already open. Birds chirp, cats wander around, only one thing is missing – the lines!
Almost the entire time we were there the revolving gate in the nearby cage remained open and people arriving went through immediately. Only infrequently did the revolving gate close and short lines formed. When the revolving gates in cages 2 and 3 opened the line disappeared and again the revolving gate remained open. Since there were no lines we couldn’t see what the situation was with the revolving gate in the first cage. It wasn’t blocked by a police barrier, but no one went to it or tried to go through because there was no need. People were pleased, greeted us and hurried on their way.
Apparently the scanner at Lane 4 isn’t operating, so the lane is open only for people without bags or parcels. Most of the Palestinians have a bag or at least a plastic sack with their food, so this lane was empty most of the time. Sometimes someone went through with a transparent bag and showed the soldier in the booth the pitas it contained.
Shortly before 6 we went to buy a cup of tea to warm up a bit. When we returned a policeman was already there and P. from the DCL arrived soon after. P. had nothing to do since in the absence of lines no one waited at the humanitarian gate, so he soon left. We also left, at about 06:15, crossed with no problems and reached town quickly, and early.