Eyal Crossing, Wed 24.6.09, Morning
Apparently this crossing will be transferred to a civilian security company on Monday, June 29th.
“Things are good today, the first day today that things have gone well,” was what we heard again and again at the Eyal crossing this morning.
4:07 – We arrived at the checkpoint. There are already a lot of minibuses present. We saw the first people coming out and walking in the parking lot and there was a steady flow of people coming out.
4:15 – Looking out at the line at the entrance from Qalqilya – it is still dark and hard to see where the line ends, but the line is moving forward at a good pace and moving all the time. It appears that the turnstile is open. People are waiting in line quietly and do not crowd next to the turnstile. Contrary to past claims which I heard from soldiers, that “they are animals,” when there is constant movement of people going in for inspection people are tolerant and stand in line with no pushing and crowding. People coming out tell us that it took them an hour to get through the checkpoint.
4:20 – The turnstile in the entrance to the checkpoint remained closed for 7 minutes. When it opened for 5 minutes, more than 100 went through each time. We go around to the exit from the checkpoint after the checks are finished. 3 inspection posts are open but the soldiers let people pass quickly. The crossing is manned by reservists and perhaps they have had a positive influence on the speed at which soldiers work in the inspections posts.
4:45 – There is constant flow of people into the terminal until 5:53, when the turnstile is closed for 4 minutes. From that point onward the turnstile was opened for 5 minutes and closed for 5 minutes or a bit longer for the entire two hours that we stayed. Each time the turnstile opened, about 100 people went through. It is important to note that even when the turnstile was closed for 10 minutes people did not crowd near it and the line was quiet and orderly.
5:00 – A crowded line at the exit from the sleeve in the direction of the 4 inspection posts which were open.
5:25 – We followed one person who was standing in the middle of the line (approximately # 120-150 from the top of the line). At 5:38 he went through the turnstile and entered the checkpoint, and was the 98th person in a group that managed to go through, until the turnstile was closed again for several minutes. He completed the inspection 17 minutes later, at 5:55. In other words, it took him 45-60 minutes to get through the checkpoint.
5:58 – 300-400 people are waiting quietly in line.
6:00 we left and went back through the Tzufin Gate and the Eliyahu Crossing. There was a small group of workers at the crossing and we saw that people were coming out of the inspection booth.