Roni H., Vivi S.
First Friday of Ramadan)
The Israeli camp seemed prepared for the invasion of Muslims into the el-Aqsa mosque. The intention seems to be that of exhibiting the enlightened conquerer, sensitive to the basics of religious ritual. This shift of attitude is probably due to international criticism and the bad reputation Israel has gained.
All women were allowed through, men over 40 and kids to 12 years of age. A great difference was evident in the fact that in the parking lots many toilet booths had been installed to replace means of crowd-dispersing and armed military personnel that had filled the parking lots in the past!
The commitment that the population would have direct bus access from their towns to the mosque did not materialize. Thus huge crowds needed to pass through the CP. Along the women's side the crowding was not so bad, compared to that on the men's side, where inspection was very thorough. No exceptions were made and often shameful scenes included the separation of kids from parents, and people pleading with the unheeding soldiers and policemen.The meticulous filtering is continued in the old City, where the military prohibits sneaking into the market or elsewhere.
In general, the crowds gloomily hurried back to the transportation means.