Long lies all morning.
There were already long lines at the checkpoint when we arrived at 5 AM. One out of the 5 stations was not operating until 5:35. The lines reached the parking lot by 6:45 and only lessened by 7:00. It is worth noting that during the period in which they are granting more and more permits (as Hannah B. has noted), they are not adjusting the facilities in accordance with the increase in numbers..
A pleasant soldier from the DCO whom we did not know before arrived at 6:05 and opened the Humanitarian Gate and opened it again whenever a small group of people had gathered there. However, because he was new, he consulted occasionally with one of the policemen who was present. Each time, in a coarse way which is typical of him, he would reject every request to go through the Gate as an exceptional case.
When we were on our way out, at 7:00, a young couple entered (or perhaps a woman with her brother),the woman with a baby in a carriage and the man with a small child on his shoulders. It was clear that the guard would allow the woman through the Humanitarian Gate, but we stopped to see if the guard, untypically, might allow the man to accompany her if he didn't have a specific permit to go through this gate. And, if he sent him to stand in line in the cages, how the woman would manage alone with 2 little children. There was some consultation, or negotiation, on this important matter, during which the guard glanced at us a few times from far away and, finally, he let the whole family go through the gate together. We cannot know whether or not our presence had any influence on his decision. Who knows?
Finally, only 3 out of the 12 lights on the northern side of the checkpoint were working. Soon it will be totally dark there before sunrise - and quite a few people arrive then.
In the photo, the line that extends into the parking lot at 6:20. The entrance to the CP ix next to the yellow sign on the left and the line continues inside.