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

05.15.  On the Israeli side there were already more people than usual at this hour.  This was because of Ramadan, when people ate early before the day’s fast, and then came immediately to the checkpoint. Many were sleeping along the sidewalks. In the café near the parking lot, men were resting, and on the tables were cups and bottles with remains of coffee or water.

At the entrance on the Israeli side we met our acquaintance N. who said he had already spoken a few times on the phone with officials of the checkpoint, because there was a lot of pressure.  Apparently the latter were not so familiar with Ramadan routine and did not open all the checking stations early enough. N. said he had also spoken with members of “Blue and White”, the right-wing organization, who said they would send a representative – but we did not see him. (True, we left very early, as will be explained later.) N. said that the whole week the situation had been bad. Yesterday it took him 3 hours to pass – he got out only at 8.  He delivers gas and according to him he could have delivered a whole truckload in that time.

Inside, the lines were orderly and extended slightly beyond the shed. The metal partitions that were there last week have been removed. Inside, in the aquarium the light was on and we could see the soldier.  From time to time she seemed to be sleeping, but nevertheless kept aware and opened the turnstiles at a reasonable rate.  By the time we arrived all 5 stations were open. Of course, there was no eating, drinking or smoking.

Today, too, we had an arranged meeting with M., a cancer patient from Jordan valley who comes to Hadassah for treatment. He arrived very early, well before 6 o’clock. We therefore shortened our watch, hoping the current steady rate of progress would continue. Together with M. we joined a line and were outside by 6 o’clock. On the way to the parking – lot we saw many men sitting and lounging along the way, while waiting for their transport to work.  By now the tables of the café were clear of remains of drinks that they had had before dawn. 

At this early hour there were no traffic jams. Already at 6.30 we parted with good wishes from M. at his clinic in Hadassah.