Morning started quietly but became crowded.
05.15. As we approached, in the cold dark, from the Israeli side, we were pleased to see that there were no queues. All 5 checking stations were open, with people waiting at them. The beigel seller was present, but the tea kiosk did not open at all. The soldier operating the turnstiles was opening only the one nearest her, and this aroused protests. But as there were not many people yet, everyone moved over into this nearest cage – at the beginning, that is. As more people arrived, the lines got longer and threatened to collapse.
On the whole, the queues were orderly, though at one stage, a quarrel between two people developed into fisticuffs. Others rushed to separate them, but tempers continually rose. At one stage the policeman M. intervened and told one of the men involved to clear off. Apparently others warned this man that it is not a good idea to get involved with M. It might cause him delay and even loss of his permit. The man compromised, and went to the back of the line, and things calmed down.
Shortly after 7, the lines began to become shorter. The D.C.O. personnel left and the humanitarian gate was closed. People who arrived there afterwards were sent to the regular lines. But then parents arrived with a small child, attached to an oxygen balloon. The gate was opened for them and also for an elderly couple on their way to hospital. But others were not allowed through.
At 7.45 we joined a queue. It took us 35 minutes to pass.