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

A hard morning, the lines collapsed three times, the humanitarian gate closed too early; yet the pressure ended relatively early.

05.15. Near the parking lot on the Israeli side, as well as at the Israeli-side entrance to the checkpoint, were groups praying. Inside the checkpoint we found lines extending beyond the shed. The beigel seller was already present, and the kiosk was open.  All checking stations were open.

Since they have moved the cages slightly leftward, the entrance there is the closest to the soldier in the aquarium, who operates the turnstiles.  It is there that the fence begins a little inwards, so here the sleeveinfo-icon is open at the beginning.  When things are ‘under control’ this enables women to fit in easily into the line.  But it can also be a ’source of chaos,’ because when the line  suddenly advances quickly, people start shoving and finally the line collapses and people come crowding around this spot. Today the lines collapsed three times during our watch!

The first collapse happened at 5.30. Luckily the D.C.O. officer arrived early today, and before 6 o’clock opened the humanitarian gate.  On the other hand, she unfortunately disappeared at 6.35 – and after that the gate was not opened, although the lines again collapsed (making it difficult for women to enter). Soon after 6, a policeman and guards arrived. A man asked the policeman to open the humanitarian gate as he was in a great rush to get to work.  Of course the policeman refused, but called to others in the crowd Let him through. He is rushing to work.”  Needless to say, this didn’t help, but the policeman turned to the man, saying “You see, I did tell them…”

In spite of everything, the lines did get shorter relatively early. At about 7 o’clock we joined, and passed through within 15 minutes.  When we were already inside the checking station we heard the policeman calling to the people in the cages, saying that the older persons without permits had to wait till 8 o’clock. Also in the checking stations they were refused entry, although there was no longer pressure.