Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint
05:55 – Workers are sitting on the curb among the cars, waiting for their rides to work. There is a steady stream of workers coming out of the upper end of the sleeve, who have come through the terminal from the West Bank. According to them, crossing takes anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. Leah asks to speak with the person in charge of the checkpoint, and he arrives with an armed security guard. Leah asks when they plan on placing benches and a shelter to provide shade, in the upper parking lot, for workers who wait for their rides. The person in charge explains that presently they have no budget, but when they do these will be the next things they will purchase.
There are fewer people crossing through the checkpoint after 06:30.
Shaked – Tura Checkpoint
07:08 The soldiers open the checkpoint.
07:20 The first car crosses from the seamline zone to the West Bank and a donkey, pulling a wagon, crosses in the same direction, the first of three who cross. We are told that they are going to harvest tobacco.
07:27– Two or three people come out after being checked. Those following do not come out until 07:39. People are coming out slowly and it takes about five minutes for each person. By the time we left at 08:00 only 15 people and six or seven vehicles have crossed.
There was a long line of people waiting on the Tura side of the checkpoint. Leah and I tried to ask the soldiers why things were so slow but received no answer.
The first person who crossed told us that he had been waiting to cross since 05:30. He usually crosses at Barta'a but did not receive a permit. He claimed that if anyone complained about things moving too slowly, his work permit would be confiscated.