Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
4:25 Most of the minibuses are lined up in the parking lot. Dozens, maybe hundreds of people have already passed through the checkpoint. At the entrance to the facility the turnstiles are closed, a sign that they've started limiting access earlier than usual. When the gates open a very strong flow of people mobs the first magnetometer, for about five minutes. After that the flow tapers off.
4:30 On the exit side, the people sitting outside are smiling. I ask how they're doing, and one says it's all good. The flow of people at the exit turnstile is strong, and the guards periodically open the side door. A woman who we picked to watch as she went in came out in ten minutes. A man we were looking for did not come out even after twenty minutes.
4:55 At the entrance again. The turnstiles were closed again. They opened after three minutes, to a lot of pressure. The opening lasted two minutes, then it closed for four minutes. As usual, the women's line is full of men. We picked some people to watch for.
5:15 At the exit: The people we were watching for got through in twelve to seventeen minutes. Two people asked us for help with blacklisted individuals, and we gave them Sylvia's contact information (printed in Arabic.)
A man exited angrily and said, What are you doing here? You don't accomplish anything. Another said, Why didn't you answer him? He evidently saw some use in our presence.
We saw a line waiting outside the new toilets, and we noticed two other toilet cubicles standing in the parking lot. We wondered why they weren't in use, and when we went to check we discovered they were locked. A few men urinated in the bushes behind them. People sitting nearby said the cubicles had been there for a while, and they didn't know why they weren't in use. The shortage of facilities needs to be solved, and we were promised months ago that more toilets would be added. Where are they?
5:55 We went around again. The flow into the checkpoint had tapered off, but a lot of people were still coming out. We went on to Habla.
6:25 The gates are locked, no soldiers are present. Two weeks ago at this time the gates were already open.
6:42 The soldiers arrive. The people who have been waiting are querulous. The soldiers move slowly (the problem is evidently the computer system, because soldiers ask occasionally if they can start letting people in.) When we ask what caused the delay, the woman soldier say she doesn't have to tell us anything, it's a military matter, if we want to know we should enlist...
6:55 The first group of five people went in to be checked. After two groups came out,