Summary: The CP was opened on time (a few minutes before 04:00): The transition this time was quite quick, except for cases of delays or sending people back. Until 06:15 3150 workmen were passed.
03:55 – we arrived and within two minutes were heard in the public the address system the announcement that the checking was about to begin. At this stage we were able to approach the entrance from which we could see the very long queue of thousands waiting to enter. The turnstile is turning around without stopping and the workmen flow quietly and without fuss and relatively quickly. We noticed that quite a lot of women were arriving.
04:15 – we pass near the exit turnstile. The workmen greet us and say that today the passage is "ok". Two messages which were sent by the internationals inform about a passage time of 12 minutes. In the next hour another workman arrives whose passage took 35 minutes (according to him he was put into a room) and later the workman who took a ticked with the entrance time for the checking, does not arrive and his friend tells us that he was sent back for an unclear reason.
We saw about 100 workmen with bags or large rucksacks. Those have a permit for a week. In a conversation with one of them who work on a building site he explains that during the days (and nights) he stays at the site. The workmen do not talk about the food prohibition, but when were ask a direct question they explain that olive oil, labaneh, cooked chicken, sugar are prohibited… God alone knows the reason. All bear a small bad or a box with some food. Not all are checked in this respect.
Here and there the old well-known complaints are repeated: the danger of the x-ray machine (Anneline promised to ask her husband to check this issue), the rude behavior of the security guards or the passage officials: "why do they have to shout at us all the time? Perhaps you could ask them to talk to us as one talksto human beings…….?" The worry about a shelter on rainy days (they build a shed on the Israeli side which hardly suffices for about 100 people, packed densely.
Except for an intermission of 5-10 minutes during which 3 posts are not manned, all 8 stations are active all the time. Toward the end of our stay a workman came out and waited for his friend who was delayed by the inspectors. About a quarter of an hour later he was allowed to leave and explained to us that the delay was caused by the fact that it seemed that he was wearing a military jacket.
Although it doesn't concern the passage of the Palestinians, I report on an encounter with S., the director of the passage: During our stay a Palestinian workmen came to me and gave me a certificate he had found on the floor of the terminus. I checked it and found that it was a certificate of an Israeli which served as a permit for the instruction of work in high buildings. As I wasn't sure to whom to return it, I used the intermission in the flow of Palestinians, entered by the turnstile the area of the terminus (with Anneline following me) and handed the nearest checking clerk (a woman) the certificate, explained the circumstances, and we went back to stand where the shift usually stands. Within a few moments S. the director of the passage comes towards us (with a security guard, as we are perhaps terrorists?) and shouts, scolds and chides us about our impertinence, the disruption of the work (?) while they are making an impossible effort to pass 5000 people on a Sunday….all the while screaming boldly and rudely. All our attempts to explain what we did are made impossible: "I am not obliged to talk to you….."I am not obliged to explain anything….", "I don't want to listen to you"….He didn't talk to us but shouted at us…. So get used to your shouted at…" He barks at Anneline who tries to tell him that she is not used to be shouted at like this. All the while they are also sending away Palestinians who delay after they went out to pray.