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Ronit Dahan-Ramati and Natanya Ginsburg

We  arrived at about 5.20. We parked and went on foot  to the Palestinian side. At this time of the year there is already the first  light. Inside were lines which led to outside the shed and into the parking area. But afterwards the lines shortened and were contained in the shed. The right hand turnstile was barricaded by a police blockade and it  seems that it is once more not working.  The workers know that this is so and stand only in the other two lines.

The month of Ramadan is  coming to an end and the baigel seller is not present. The people stand in line not smoking or  drinking coffee and usually also they do not have bags or parcels of food and maybe because of that the checking is swift. The parking area is empty and the entrance is blocked.

Because the lines were not long  women went through in the ordinary way. But as time went on more  and more elderly people and groups of women arrived, some of them with children. They waited in the beginning at the side and filled the few benches which are still left in the shed.

At about 6.20 the representative of  the DCO arrived but because there was no guard or policeman went back the way he had come . About 6.30 he came back with a guard accompanying him. They did not open the gate and told the elderly people (men over 55 and women over 50) that they could only pass at 8 o’clock as usual. All the permits for Ramadan had been cancelled  after the terrorist attack at the Damascus gate. People who turned to the guard or the soldier had the permits taken from .them. On the other hand they did explain that  because the night was the night of El Qadr they would be able to pass from 12 o’clock onwards as it is on Friday. Women of all ages, children to the age of 14 and men over the age of 40 and this without a permit. They were told that the checking areas outside would be working, those that are open on Friday of Ramadan (Laylat al-Qadr (Arabicلیلة القدر‎‎) (also known as Shab-e-Qadr , loaned from Persian), variously rendered in English as the Night of DecreeNight of Power,[2] Night of ValueNight of Destiny,[3] or Night of Measures, is in Islamic belief the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[4] It is one of the nights of the last ten days of RamadanMuslims believe that on this night the blessings and mercy of Allah are abundant, sins are forgiven, supplications are accepted, and that the annual decree is revealed to the angels who also descend to earth. Shia Islam holds that Prophets and the Shia Imams are recipients of the angels on the night of Qadr and the decrees that they reveal)

In the meantime the cages emptied out and the women went through and passed through the checking areas. At about 6.45 we joined the lines which had emptied out. There were many women  who were not allowed to enter. While we were standing there we saw 4 guards and soldier from the DCO entering the waiting area. They opened a side gate and sent the older women back into the shed. They had to wait until the hour of 8 when the older people are allowed to pass. Others would have to wait until 12. They allowed an old woman who was sitting on the floor with her cane and who said it  was hard for her to get up to remain seated. She would have to do so until 12 o’clock.