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Chana Stein, Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting)

A calm morning, a man fainted but, for a change, not because of pressure in a queue.

05.15. On the road leading to the checkpoint on the Israeli side, are white fences on both sides, and it looks as if there are plans to make sidewalks.  It is still dark and cold, with a wind. Abraham’s café next to the parking lot is full, and at the entrance to the checkpoint there are a few men praying. All 5 checking  stations were open, and we could see already from afar that there were no queues. In the ‘slalom’ area we could see a small group of men. Then we noticed that one man had apparently fainted. He was lying on the ground with his friends lifting his legs and sprinkling  water on him.  This time one couldn’t blame crowdedness – this must have been due to general weakness, or illness.  He quickly recovered, rose, and others let him precede them in the checking line.

The beigel seller told us that yesterday, too, conditions had been good.  People arriving were all smiling as they rushed through, greeting us and some wishing us ‘chag sameach.’ Only one turnstile was open as this was sufficient – and for long periods it was kept open. At times the shed was totally empty.

At 6 a.m. the relief soldier arrived, greeting us. At this stage there were no other personnel, but there was no need, as anyone could go directly through the regular turnstile.

We went out for tea, and soon after we returned, a D.C.O. officer arrived with 2 trainee soldiers, explaining to them the procedures. She was approached by an elderly couple who had apparently been turned back at the checking station. They showed her documents, presumably for medical treatment. She spoke to someone on the phone, and they proceeded through, as did another elderly woman who approached her.  Meanwhile, two guards also arrived.

06.30. We joined a line at a checking station where it took about 15 minutes to pass. Thanks to the early hour and school vacation, the return to town was quick.