'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Irtah, Qalqiliya, Wed 28.11.07, Morning

Nettie A., Rina T. (reporting)

7:00 – Irtah checkpoint (Ephraim gate)
There aren't many laborers in the parking lot.  They say passing through went ok.  As recently as this Sunday (11/25), indeed on the day in which the largest number of laborers go through compared with the rest of the week, only two "inspection sleeves" were opened and there was terrible congestion, lengthy inspections, and the anxiety that attends such situations.  Today, for example, five "sleeves" were opened.

7:20 – Ar-Ras
The soldiers are on reserve duty.  They greet us congenially.  There's almost no traffic, and inspections are rapid.
We passed on bags of clothes and blankets to the representative of "Windows" in Tulkarm.  He is looking for volunteers to drive patients, every once in a while, from the West Bank to hospitals in Israel, or in the opposite direction.  Whoever's prepared to do this should call Mahmud at 059 9212034.  There's no commitment, and it would depend in each case on whether or not one has the time and ability to go.

7:55-8:30 – Anabta (Einav)
Here too there are reserve-duty soldiers.
When we arrived, the queue from the direction of Tulkarm stretched beyond the turn in the road, meaning we couldn't see its end, which means at least 25 cars.  A bus driver reports a 40 minute delay.  Many prefer to get off the cab and pass through the checkpoint by foot, taking another cab on the other side, and thus saving time (but not money).
The soldier who conducts the inspections passes the cars through quite quickly, but because of the long queue many drivers bypass the queue.  To those the soldier give a pedagogical lecture; he explain, argues (as Nettie says – Yanosh Korchak), and this takes time, and the queue grows even longer, and then more drivers bypass, and so on and on.  And, by the way, after the argument he lets those who bypassed the queue drive on.  Down the narrow road, in the direction of Tulkarm, a traffic jam was formed by those bypassers and the cars driving in the opposite direction.  An ambulance can't pass through for several minutes.

8:10 – change of shifts.  Inspections aren't brought to a halt.  One soldier from the new team takes the initiative and begins to pass cars through quickly, without inspection.  The traffic jam is gone.  One car that bypassed the queue is sent back. Miraculously, the queue shortens.  When we left 20 minutes later there were less than 15 cars in queue.
No inspection on entering.

When we got to Beit Iba the taxi drivers told us that this morning the soldiers at the Anabta checkpoint took away their car keys and delayed them for a long time.
Azzun – the two entrances to Azun from road 55 are blocked with cement blocks and piles of dirt.

Qalqilya checkpoint – 10:15-10:30
Short queues of 3-4 in each direction.  Inspection is quick.