Eyal, Wed 10.6.09, Morning
We arrived at 3:50.
The place is quiet. Many taxis are in the parking lot. The line of people waiting is so long that the end cannot be seen. The line is orderly and quiet without any signs of tension or crowding. Some of the people waiting are sitting on the ground. At 4:00 movement begins in the crowd. The checkpoint opens at 4:02.
At the entrance side to the checkpoint the turnstile opens and about 20 people go through and continue on into the building. The turnstile stops again for two or three minutes and another group of people goes through. The process of letting people in continues until 4:30 when passage becomes constant and 12 people enter each minute. This rate increases to 40 per minute. The people remain in the checkpoint for an average of 20 minutes (we measured the time it took for three poeple to go through).
The amount of time at the checkpoint including the waiting time in front of the turnstile and the time inside as ten people reported to us is between one and two hours. (The internationals reported the time from the moment a person joined the end of the line until they emerged from the facility at 45 minutes at the beginning, and hour and a quarter to an hour and a half towards the end.
The number of people going through between 4:30 and 8:00 AM (as counted by the internationals) was 2748 with an additional 600-700 who came through when the turnstile opened at 4:02. Before the count began an (estimated) additional 100 people came through after the internationals ended their count - a total of approximately 3,500 people.
Throughout the shift the line in front of the entrance appeared endless. Most of the time there was a flow of people through the one turnstile in the entrance and the entire line moved. We could only see the end of the line by about 7:30.
Some of the people are sitting and waiting for their rides to work. For some this wait is very long. Despite the fact that they knew that their contractor would arrive only at 7:00 they still came to the checkpoint at 4 :00 in order to make sure they would finish the check before the contractor arrives.
Several people complained to us about the fact that their imployers were taking advantage of them by threatening them or giving them checks that bounced. We referred them to Salva Alinat from the workers' emergency hotline Kav Laoved.
A group of 10-15 women on their way to visit prisons arrives and is admitted through only after all the workers have gone through. The representative from the Red Cross who accompanied the group explains to us that the arrangement was made in order to avoid people losing work days.
Throughout the time that we were at the checkpoint there was order and quiet in the line in front of the turnstile. One person was refused entry and was sent to the Liaison and Coordination Administration to renew his license.
8:00 There are no more people waiting in front of the turnstile at the entrance. The women going to visit the prisons have gone through. People are still coming out.
We left at 8:20.