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

05.15.  Our first visit after Ramadan. The café next to the parking lot on the Israeli side is once again full of people who have passed the checkpoint early and are waiting for transport. At the entrance to the checkpoint we met a foreign student who is doing research on the effect of checkpoints on the lives of Palestinians, but in the end he decided not to enter with us.

Inside we met the beigel-seller. The kiosk did not return after Ramadan, and the beigel-seller thought that  it had been banished from the shed. Outside there is no longer any possibility for the kiosk to stand in its old place. Yet later on we did see one of the kiosk staff arriving, perhaps to check the possibility of returning?

The weather was pleasant and people were wearing short sleeves.  The lines were relatively short, being contained within the shed at every opening of the turnstiles. Four checking stations were open, out of the 5. Our friend H. told us that he had been wounded (by a turnstile?) this week and found it difficult to tread on his leg. Today he has an appointment for an MRI. We met, too, his son who also works in Israel.

Though the humanitarian gate did not open at 6, this was not absolutely necessary as everyone could join regular lines without trouble.  At 6 o’clock the fifth station opened, and the woman soldier was replaced by a soldier who, we have noticed in the past, tends to let only few people through at each opening of the turnstiles. This is very frustrating and, on days when there are long queues, results in the collapse of the queues.  Luckily, today the lines are short…

Going outside, we saw that in the new building that is going up there are 6 openings, that means there will be 5 or 6 checking stations. When we returned we saw that a guard had arrived, and he instructed the soldier to ‘let flow’ more people each time, and now there were many people at each checking station, and not long ones in front of the cages. A few minutes later a D.C.O. soldier arrived. There was no real need to open the humanitarian gate, but he did so when individuals approached him.

At about 7 o’clock we joined a line. An elderly man leaning on an improvised walking-stick, who had not been allowed through the humanitarian gate – not having a permit, he could enter only after 8 – got up from a bench and joined the line from the side.  He finally reached the checking station, but that did not help him. He was forced to return and wait until 8 o’clock.

It took us 25 minutes to pass.