Virginia Syvan, Ina Friedman (reporting)

Started well, ended poorly

Only four of the five checking stations were open when we arrived at 5:30. It was a brutal morning: bone-chilling cold, impenetrable fog, even a heavy rain fell once during the shift. And the burned-out light bulb at the entrance to the shed has still not been replaced (for over two months, now).

However, the lines were contained inside the shed because the soldier controlling the turnstiles was both wise and considerate in allowing many people through each time he opened them -- and he opened them often. When he finished his shift and came out of the booth, we shouted “Bravo!” to him and were rewarded with a broad grin.

That was at 6:15, when his replacement began working. Then the situation reversed due to the way in which the soldier was operating the turnstiles and the lack of attention given to it by the policeman and security guards who arrived more or less the same time that he did. Now the lines grew long, beyond the shed and up the narrow path leading to it. In weather like this, having to stand outside is injury added to insult.

A Civil Administration officer arrived at 6:15 and operated the Humanitarian Gate smoothly until the end of the shift (close to 8:00 a.m.).

Incidentally, the fifth checking station (#5) did not open until 6:45 (!!), while some people stood in the sleeveinfo-icon leading to it for close to half an hour in anticipation that the station would be opened forthwith. This station has opened late for a number of weeks now. Needless to say, that it makes the proper operation of the checkpoint more difficult.

At 7:25 we joined the shortest of the lines via the cages and were through the security check in 25 minutes.