Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Tue 19.5.09, Morning
The crossing opens at 4:30 AM.
The line is so long that we cannot see the end. Three turnstiles are operating. 93 people enter. We did not measure the exact time, but it was not more than two minutes.
7 out of 15 inspection positions out of 15 are open (according to people passing through).
People who talked to us expressed the following:
- Several people came up to us and told us that since women from "Machsom Watch" have stood at the crossing the situation has improved significantly. At the same time, they also expressed fear of what would happen if we stop coming to the crossing.
- People begged us to [appeal to the authorities] to open the checkpoint a half hour earlier, at 4:00 AM, which would make things significantly easier.
- One of the drivers drew our attention to the [size of the] parking area for drivers as opposed to that of the security personnel. There are now twice as many security personnel as there are drivers. Note the two photographs, and "Find the difference".
- Women tell us about the problem at the Qalqilya Checkpoint in the morning. There is only one crossing point open and therefore there is a long line.
- Crossing the checkpoint requires a strictly disciplined diet and water allotment: people cannot bring in large bottles of water: only small ones (1/2 liter). People cannot bring in cheese, honey, or a large container of humus! Perhaps the wisdom of the occupation is based upon Netanyahu's potentially high level of cholesterol.
- Many women did not go through a separate line, but noted that "they were treated with respect" and were allowed to pass through first.
- When people return in the afternoon only one out of 15 inspection points is open. The lines are very long at noon and there is no roof for people to stand under. The checkpoint staff only opens all the inspection points on days when there are visits to prisoners , and that is done only for a short time (someone noted that it was only for one half hour).
- Persons aged 30-35 are often detained for more than an hour. They are then released in the same random manner as they were detained. Sometimes they are forced to undergo body searches while completely naked, and in the presence of the others.
- At 4:30 only people with agricultural permits are let through, and those with other permits are only allowed through at 5:00.
Despite the fact that we are standing on the erasure road, no one came to speak to us or shout at us. We did not see a single member of the checkpoint staff while we were there.
Tom and I left at 05:45.