Routine of Occupation
“May Day, the holiday of the workers,” one of the men waiting in line calls us over to point out to us, “and even today no one relates to the workers on their way to their jobs. We’re transparent today, too.”
Nevertheless, today was better than the previous two – including the collapse of line discipline and subsequent uproar – according to what a number of people tell us.
All five checking stations were open when we arrived at 5:30 but the progress into them was slow (though it improved in the course of the morning). Fortunately for the workers on their holiday, the lines did not extend very far beyond the entrance to the shed (meaning they were relative short). Nevertheless, at 6:00 we began following the progress of a man at the end of one of the lines, and it took him 40 minutes to reach the entrance to the checking station he had chosen.
A security guard arrived at 5:45 and opened the Humanitarian Gate. Two Civil Administration soldiers came later on and continued to operate the gate properly throughout the shift. This morning many families showed up, either for an outing, a family visit, or just a day of fun. Sometimes the guards separated the younger people with permits from their older relatives, who do not require permits but are not entitled to pass into Israel before 8:00 a.m. Those are the rules, holiday or not.
At 7:00 we joined the shortest of the lines passing through the cages and exited the checking station 25 minutes later.