Tarqumiya, Mon 8.10.07, Morning

Tamar Brenner and Anat Shafir (reporting)

It is still dark when we arrive, there’s a queue of about 300 workers, and the passage is very slow. We peek into the checking booth and see 4 soldiers who are supposed to find out why things are so slow, but two of the women soldiers are sitting and eating sandwiches. When they saw us, they stopped eating and went to check things out. The line began to move. We timed the procedure to 15 minutes per worker, a normal rate.

We commented about the incident to the officer in charge, who promised to keep it in mind.

Here and there soldiers stop trucks passing through the checkpoint, and carry out sloppy inspections. They could bring through cannon and the soldiers wouldn’t see it, not to mention explosive belts. They drive the Palestinians crazy inside the area, and at the main gate the inspections are amateurish and superficial. The officer in charge claims that a new passage will be opened soon on the green line, and things will improve. We’ll see.

Every now and then the soldiers detain workers for 20 minutes as sample inspections. Three border police are standing guard around the checking booth. They stand there quietly without intervening, perhaps to correct what happened the week before when one of the BP intervened and caused even greater delays by “flexing his muscles” and busy educating everyone.

It seems that a fax to the commander of the brigade probably solved the problem.

We left the checkpoint at 6:30.