Eyal Crossing, Sun 30.8.09, Morning

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Ditza I and Didika Y (reporting)

We arrived at the checkpoint at about 04:00 but it was didn’t open until 04:10.

At first it seemed that there are fewer people than usually, we were not sure if it was because the crossing was slow or there are fewer people because of the Rmaadan. We also noticed that a lot of the people do not carry food parcels. Later, at 04:45 more people were crossing at a faster pace.

We were told that there are many people waiting on the other side and that inside it is also very crowded. The average of waiting time inside the examination room is 20 minutes and 8 people enter at a time. The average time for the whole process from arriving to the checkpoint is about 35 minutes, although some people coming out claimed they waited 1 to 1.5 hours.

We asked to see the numbers distributed by the Palestinian authorities and also asked again about the payment. We were told that only on Sundays people have to pay 1 NIS for the number. We realised that unlike usually, the note that was given did not have a number. We didn’t manage to find out why and if this is a temporary thing or will be like this in the future. The payment is for the services and for the cleaning of the Palestinian side of the checkpoint. It is not obligatory to pay it so we assume that if the numbering system will be discontinued, people will not pay but if it is not, they will have to pay to get the number for the queue. Ditza asked Shadi about the numbering system but could not get an answer.

Moshe, the checkpoint manager (called Omri by mistake in previous reports) said that there is another organisation monitoring the checkpoint on the other side. We asked him again about the safety of the screening machine and he again said that it is safe. He told us that the manufacturing company is Eastronics. I searched the company and according to the information I found, this is not a manufacturer but a distributor of various technologies. One of their partners is Smith Detection which manufactures explosive traces detection machines. I didn’t see that they distribute also screening machines so Moshe might have been referring to the explosives detection rather than screening. We need to ask again the name of the screening machine manufacturer so that we can search and find out safety information.

A couple of times while we were there, the turnstiles at the exit were blocked due to an alert, one of the times for two minutes which caused a crowd to form at the exit.

One of the people handed me his phone to speak to Johanna from EAPPI after she asked him to call her when he reaches the exit. His timing for crossing was 35 minutes. She said that the situation on the other side is calm and organised and according to her count 3500 people went through. Shadi said that according to his counting, 5000 went through.