At 9:20 the line of waiting people was long but moved forward quickly. Four internal entrances were open and most people entered without delay. People arrived in large groups which had to wait 15 minutes before entering. At about 10 o'clock the line was empty.
We met a Swedish volunteer from The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The members of this organization come to Israel to spend three months as observers and to report to their countries and to the UN about the territories. She told us that her impression is that the Palestinians have lost their fighting spirit and hope.
We noticed a woman who was caught in the turnstile which had closed all of a sudden. A young man standing next to her calmed her down telling her that she would be able to pass through in a few minutes. He spoke fluent Hebrew and told us that he has been employed by a manpower company in Israel for many years.
An elderly woman turned to us asking for our help. She is 67 years old and had come to Nablus especially for this purpose. She has a valid permit which is given to her every six months. The soldiers took her permit and refused to give it back. Ofra Tene called the DCO (District Coordination Office) and introduced herself: I'm Ofra Tene from Mchsomwatch ("machsom" in Hebrew means barrier, checkpoint) and is now at the Qalandiya checkpoint." "How can you be at two checkpoints?" the soldier wondered…When Ofra told him about the woman's problem, pointing out that she had come especially from Nablus, the soldier said that he could do nothing and that she would have to inquire again on Sunday. "But you're supposed to help civilians, that's your task"' Ofra insisted, but the soldier answered, "I'm a soldier and I stick to the rules so I can't do anything more".
We tried to talk to the female soldier at the check post. In the beginning she said that if the permit had been taken from her there must be a reason. Then she agreed to check but only if I stopped writing. The computer showed that the woman's permit had expired in April. When we explained this to the woman it appeared that she had evidently brought her old permit. We thanked the female soldier for having agreed to bend the rules.