Occupation Functioning Efficiently
: At the terminal there were few people and lots of filth. A Palestinian workman was cleaning up the area beyond the first turnstiles - where the soldiers are present - but the fore area was terribly filthy. Passage is through two lanes as one lane, across from the humanitarian, is out of order. We were greeted by a handicapped person in a wheelchair. He had already spoken with the girl-soldier and was waiting for someone to open the gate. The girl was efficient and cooperative and explained to us that she was trying to prevent crowding at the inner sleeves and was therefore releasing people gradually from the outer pens. Every release was announced as "maftu'ach" and the people then hurried to get through.
Two women on their way to Gaza were carrying huge suitcases. No, the gate would not be opened as it was reserved for handicapped persons, explained the soldier. They forced their suitcases through the rails and then the turnstiles, laughing and inviting us to visit them in Gaza....
Most of the people passing throughwere adults and elderly, as opposed to the past when youths would also pass through, wishing to breathe some fresh air beyond the Wall. The atmosphere at the terminal is tense and silence hovers over the heaps of garbage.