Anabta: According to the newspaper headlines, the Einab checkpoint is among those on the list of those removed by the army. Or almost removed. In the field – not only is that information unsupported; the opposite is true: lines like we haven’t seen for over a year stretch in both directions, and especially at the entrance to Tulkarm, in front of the checkpoint in whose renovation considerable effort has been invested.
15:50 The checkpoint has moved back to the north, to its original location. The area resembles a sophisticated terminal. Two entry lanes, spikes and a grand booth. A soldiers sits inside, beside a second soldier who stops almost every car. The result – a line about one kilometer long, stretching far past the intersection, creeping onto Route 557 up to where the road curves. People claim they’ve already been waiting an hour and a half. We approach the checkpoint and observe. Almost every driver, whether of a private car or a public transport vehicle, is asked to stop. Some cars aren’t inspected. Inspection isn’t random. We go over to the soldiers, and are asked not to come past the spikes. We say we came tell them that there are huge lines. The soldier says they’re looking for someone. (A naïve question: How do they know that the person they’re looking for isn’t in one of the cars that isn’t inspected, and how do they know that one of the passengers isn’t the one they’re looking for, since only the driver has to show an ID?)
During the half hour we were there, the line only got longer. We tried to contact the Tulkarm DCO, and it turned out that the phone numbers were irrelevant. Finally I remembered that one of the Palestinians at Irtach gave me the DCO’s number. We called it, and someone in fact answered, but he told us that he’d received instructions to refer complaints to the head of the DCO רמת"ק? , and in response to our request gave us the number. I left a message on the answering machine. Meanwhile drivers are asking us why we’re not doing something about the giant line. We replied that we did what was in our power, and left for Irtach.
After about 20 minutes the DCO head did call us (I didn’t catch his name). When he heard what we had to say he promised to look into it. I didn’t think he knew that they were looking for someone. Unfortunately, we were no longer on site to see whether anything came of our call. (Not for publication on the site: The phone number of the Tulkarm DCO is 02-9703056, and of the DCO head: 050-9703056).
17:00 The workers flow in. The turnstile is open, and there are no lines.
17:30 The workers hurry into the checkpoint and are quickly swallowed up. A few minutes later we see them on their way to the taxis.