'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Irtah, Jubara (Kafriat), Sun 25.11.07, Morning
We have never congestion such as this before seen at Irtah. At Ar-Ras and Anabta all the cars stop and some of them are quickly checked.
We were quite shocked to see the huge number of vehicles and people in and out of the parking lot. We went on to the turnstile on the Tulkarm side and saw a crowd of about a hgundred people gathering at the entrance and a relatively large number of vehicles in the parking lot. When we asked about the reason for the congestion, one of the people said that Qalqiliya checkpoint had been closed and everyone had to pass through Tulkarm. A few minutes later the gate opened and some 20-30 workers were allowed to pass. We went back to the parking lot on the Israeli side. After some workers had told us they had been waiting for three hours and another had claimed that he had passed at 05:00 after waiting for an hour while his friend who had been detained for an additional inspection indoors hadn't come out yet, we asked to talk to the head of the facility.
Amitay, who is in charge of the facility, came out a few minutes later and his story was quite different. According to him, all the positions at the terminal, that had started working at 04:30 were manned. And the passage took only a short time. As for inspections indoors, there were scarcely any thanks to a new system of inspection that was in operation. He claimed those who worked with rtegular employees passed quickly within 10-15 minutes, and later came the ones who tried to grab the opportunity and get work and the congestion was due to the fact that there were more workers with working permits.
Workers known to Amitay and were asked about it in his presence confirmed that the passage was quick. Indeed we saw it was. What had happened before was not quite clear. We told Amitay that some people had claimed that closing the checkpoint in Qalqiliya and/or in Jit was the reason for the congestion. He called to get some clarification and was told that Qalqiliya checkpoint was open but only since 07:00.
The soldiers who manned the post and were new at the checkpoint were reluctant to let us pass through the village and only after clarifying the matter at the brigade headquarters (about 10 minutes) did we pass.
The reservists at the post stopped each car and a minute later let it pass. Less than 10 vehicles were in line.
A line of 7 cars from the south and over 10 cars from the north. Each car stopped for an inspection of less than half a minute.
We went on to Beit Iba.