Chana Stein (translating), Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting)

A very crowded morning, lines collapsing totally.

05.15.  Groups of men at prayer at the parking-lot and at the entrance to the checkpoint. Long lines inside, extending beyond the shed. The neon lights seem to have been renewed, but not the one near the exit,  where the beigel-seller stands! Groups of men leave the queue to pray and then return to their places.

All 5 checking stations were open and speed was ‘reasonable’, and each time the turnstiles were opened a large number of people could pass. On the whole women were allowed to join at the entrance to the cage. Now and again one of the checking stations would close, and at one stage there was an announcement  that at one station only people without bags and packages could pass.  Yet at 5.50 the lines completely collapsed.  It took one and a half hours (!) until orderly queues were formed again. During this time there were attempts to re-form lines, but every time the turnstiles opened, there would be a mad rush towards the cage entrance, with the resulting collapse.

Fortunately, the humanitarian gate opened early today. Shortly before 6, a guard arrived and, without waiting for a D.C.O. officer, he began to arrange to open the gate. The D.C.O. man arrived soon after and joined him.  The gate remained open until 7.45.

Meanwhile, we wandered around in the shed and outside, chatted with people and bought tea at the kiosk which is once again supervised by Aiman, who has recently been running the ‘parking’lot’ next to what was previously the organized parking-lot of the checkpoint.

Only a little before 8 o’clock had the lines become short enough for us to join one. It took under half an hour to pass.