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Orit Dekel, Ofra Tene, Michal Weiner (reporting)

Translator: Charles K.


At 09:00 the line was very crowded, stretching all the way to the benches. The humanitarian gate was closed. We saw no soldiers or officers in the area. People on line said they’d already waited an hour. We telephoned the DCO asking to open the humanitarian gate for the women and very old men. Here’s what they replied: “Everyone’s old; they’re able to stand.” Meanwhile the line moved forward slowly and newcomers joined. The lines inside were also delayed.


At 09:20 a very senior officer, covered in brass, accompanied by a large group of young civilians, showed up at the plaza inside the checkpoint near the closed gate. We asked him why the checkpoint was so crowded, and why it took so long to go through. He said, impatiently, that he’ll explain later, because he’s busy with the visitors. He ordered us to move away from the fence and not interrupt his talk to the youths. From talking to one of the people in the group we learned that the tour had been organized by “Blue & White Human Rights,” which is connected to the Likud. The organization was founded by Yoaz Hendel, a former advisor to Netanyahu and currently the head of the Institute for Zionist Strategy. Some participants asked us not to photograph them. A woman who appeared to be the tour’s organizers, and another man, tried to prevent them from speaking with us. We should note that the humanitarian miss exercised her civil right to wear a revealing tank top, evidence that she was aware of the cultural sensitivities of those being squeezed together at the crossings.


We noticed a civilian guard and asked him to get the humanitarian gate opened. He said that only the soldiers have a key; only they can open it.


By 09:40 both the flow of people and the congestion had increased. The officer was busy speaking to the group and didn’t have time to deal with problems. We telephoned the DCO again asking to open the humanitarian gate for a woman with a babyinfo-icon carriage who wasn’t able to go through the regular gate. A soldier arrived a few minutes later, opened the gate, allowed the young woman to go through and immediately closed it.


Beginning at 09:50 people began crossing more quickly and more people went in. A man with a permit to go to the hospital for treatment requested our help.


By 10:20 there was almost no more line.