'Anabta, Irtah, Sun 23.11.08, Morning

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Yael A. (reporting), Rachel H. Translation: Galia S.

Irtah checkpoint

06:50 – Congestion on the Palestinian side of the turnstile. Groups of about 100 people pass every 5-7 minutes. Yet, at 07:00 it is still very crowded with people waiting. A great number of employers; cars are waiting on the Israeli side as the inspection takes a long time. Some of the Palestinians approach us to show they have been physically hurt because of the horrible overcrowding earlier when the number of people gathering at the passage was even greater and the waiting time was extremely long.

When we visited there two weeks ago, the complaints were similar. We had a long talk with Yaron, the checkpoint commander, who explained that the delays were due to some malfunction at the checkpoint. Answering our question, he said that owing to the fact that an increased number of people pass at the checkpoint, more inspection posts were added. It didn't seem convincing even then and it seems that it is a matter of profitability, meaning that the number of people passing there (olive and fruit picking) has grown more than the inspecting system has.

We should report about it and demand that the facility be adjusted to the extent of the traffic in the place.


07:20 – A long line of cars heading south. According to our measuring, it took a bus 20 minutes to pass from the moment we sighted it. The reservists at the checkpoint are nice to us. One soldier at the checkpoint draws our attention to the mess in the line, which is the cause of the delay: taxis overtake other vehicles, Arabs with Israeli licence plates overtake everyone, so does a car of the Palestinian Authority and a UN vehicle. North bound traffic proceeds in an orderly manner.