Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Mon 6.7.09, Morning
Observers: Sna’it G., Nava M. (reporting)
Guest: James Johnson, a British journalist
Translator: Charles K.
We arrived late, a long time after the checkpoint opened and many workers had already gone through, because we had trouble on the way.
Seated in circles, groups of them wait for their employers to come and get them.
Others take taxis.
The checkpoint and its surroundings are quiet.
The line of people waiting at the entry turnstiles is quiet and organized. No one pushes. People go through in groups of 5-10 persons. The time that elapses between groups varies
There are six inspection booths operating at the exit from the facility and people go through very quickly: 120 during 5 minutes.
We talk with people waiting:
The gate opened this morning at 4:30-4:40.
Someone arriving at 3:00 entered the turnstile at 4:30 and left the facility at 5:10.
Limits on the amount of food permitted: For one person – 3-5 pitas, one can of food, olive oil is prohibited, water in a small or a large bottle, but not ice.
Other comments by those waiting: Now things are ok, much better than a month or two ago. But why do we have to be checked in the “rooms”; after four inspections, why a fifth?
No separate line for women.
Yesterday afternoon only one booth was open and at 6:45 they closed the checkpoint.
On our way back we stopped at Eyal checkpoint, whose operation was transferred only last week from the army to a private company [the same one that operates the Irtach checkpoint].
Many complaints about how slow the inspection is, particularly in the “rooms.”