There were not very many people at the CP yesterday afternoon in the murderous heat of the past week.
We were very surprised to see that all four passageways were operating, and the soldier on duty in the cubicle at the CP entrance made sure to announce that all passageways were active every few minutes. Of course, in the prevailing heat, only people who absolutely had to were actually going out doors, so the lines in all the passageways remained very short almost the entire length of our shift.
We saw no special problems until about 4:50 PM when we suddenly noticed that the line in Passageway 1 had lengthened considerably. It turned out that all the other passageways had shut down (the soldiers having apparently all gone to eat their supper at this early hour), and the soldiers on duty in Passageway 1, instead of increasing their efforts had sunk into a stupor and slowed down their pace of work. The line grew longer and people began to grumble and complain. We phoned headquarters to ask for some help. Nothing happened.
Meanwhile we struck up a conversation with one of the people standing in line. He told us that his son had been operated on early that morning in Muqassad Hospital (in East Jerusalem) and that he was supposed to donate blood for the operation. In order to do so, he had to receive a permit to enter Jerusalem. He said he had stood in line from 10 AM until 4 in the afternoon to receive the permit. The man had nothing good to say about the administration of the Occupation…. He complained bitterly about the bureaucracy and lack of empathy. But in the end he managed to cross into Jerusalem and hopefully to donate blood and visit his son and find that all was well and the boy was recovering.