One full working day between two closures.
05.15. We were greeted by a sight we haven’t seen for a long time at the Israel side of the shed – three lines of men in organized prayer, and inside, another 6 men praying together.
The three queues looked long – people told us that they reached the street. The soldier in the cubicle opened the turnstiles regularly and for reasonable times. Four checking stations worked all the time; the fifth did so intermittently, but kept open after announcing that only people without baggage could go through there.
By 6.15 there were about 20 people waiting at the humanitarian gate, including a woman with two small children. When Natanya phoned to ask why the gate was not yet open, she was rebuffed with a “Nu, do you think we are here to serve you?” such rudeness is unusual. Mostly we are told politely “We will check,” – which may happen… At any rate, independently of our phone call, a D.C.O. officer arrived a couple of minutes later, the gate opened at 6.20, and everyone there passed through. The soldier was later joined by another and a guard and the gate was still open when we left at 7.30.
A young man approached us. He told us that 2 days ago a guard ripped up his identity card. At about 9 a.m. he and four others were complaining about the delay, at which the guard, to show who was in charge, did this. The man said he replaced his card at the D.C.O. the same day. He wanted to lodge a complaint – as he said, the whole place is photographed and monitored – but had no actual witnesses. We advised him not to do so as this was likely only to cause him more trouble! He complained that he felt so humiliated by the experience.
By 7.30 the lines were extending just beyond the cages, and so we joined one. At the checking stations there were already women and older men waiting on the side, to cross at 8 a.m.
Three men, in turn, were turned back and told to go to lane 5, presumably to the D.C.O.
It took 20 minutes for us to pass.