Tarqumiya, Thu 13.3.08, Morning

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Hava T. and Varda Sh. (reporting)

Arrival time: 05:45

We estimate that there were some 700 workers in line when we arrived. The line extended beyond the covered area. Workers we asked said they had been in line for about an hour and that the crowding resulted from other checkpoints being closed.

The fact that it is not as cold, and that it gets light earlier in the morning, helps both us and the workers, who seemed happy to see us.  Four positions were manned (or rather ‘womanned’) inside the checkpost with two windows open on each side. The method of handing the already opened papers through the windows seems to be working well. We counted some 23 workers going through per minute.

At some point, a new checkpoint line suddenly opened up.  A number of workers were sent to the other side of the road and their papers checked there.  The line was shortened considerably, to everyone’s satisfaction.  When for some reason this second checkpoint ceased operating, we asked the soldiers to continue it and were pleased when they did so.

All in all it was a good morning. At 6:50 the covered area was almost completely empty.