Chana htein, Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting), visitors from U.S.A. (Sophia; Beth and her daughter Rose)

05.30. On arrival we were happy to find no queues and five checking stations open. All the (short) time we were there, the leftmost turnstile was left open  and everyone arriving passed through immediately.  The beigel-seller was back, recovered from last week’s illness. Our friend H. passed too quickly for us to ask about his wounded leg, but it looked as if it was in improved state.

We explained to our visitors the general set-up and they saw both inside and outside the shed.  We walked to the Qlandiya camp to see the graffiti on their side of the wall. We bought coffee at a kiosk there as there is no longer one at the shed.  It would be interesting to see if, once the building process is finished, there will be now an Israeli kiosk, like those at other checkpoints.

When we returned to the shed we met our colleagues Hanna Barag and Ronny Perlman with a Japanese journalist. He photographed and also interviewed one of our acquaintances, N., who is always ready to stop and chat. N. said that at the beginning of the week  there were members of Blue and White, the right-wing human rights group.  He is on good terms with them all. He also showed us a picture of a religious woman journalist (possibly a settler) who comes occasionally to the checkpoint.  He has pictures, too, of less calm days and shows the journalist what the place looks like on a day of chaos. Ronit also has a film that a Palestinian had made on such a day and that he sent her, and our visitors could not believe their eyes.

Changing of the guard was late this morning, and no one came to open the humanitarian gate. Indeed, there was no need, as entry was so quick.

However, the mother and daughter – our visitors – had entered Israel on Israeli passports (the mother having lived in Israel in the past), but came to the checkpoint with only their American passports which did not contain visas. The soldier explained that he could not let them through without the visa (the little note that one gets at Ben Gurion airport).  These are the rules. So as not to hold back others in the queue, our visitors went back with Chana. Sophia and Ronit continued through to the Israeli side, and returned to the Palestinian side in the car. They collected the rest of us and we drove to Hizme checkpoint which we passed without any check at all.  Fortunately, because of the school holidays there was only light traffic both on the way to Hizme and then to the city centre.