An endless line of workers is exiting the “sleeve.” Some of them look for their transportation and some sit and wait. In answer to my question, one of the workers reported that it took him half an hour, from the time he got into line at the entrance to the installation until he could leave. We go down to the entrance on the Palestinian side. There are many cars in the parking lot and more than 50 trucks and vans loaded and well-packed, wait to enter the vehicle inspection.
The line is very orderly; people report that they wait in line about 10 minutes. When the turnstile is opened, about 45 people pass through. A., the devoted steward, passes two trays of baklawa around to those who wait in line and also to us, in celebration of the birth of his grandson. While he speaks with us, young men try to push their way into line and immediately a fierce argument breaks out, accompanied by pushing and yelling. A. controls the incident and the line becomes organized again.
We select a young man who gets in line and go back to the exit. The young man arrives at the entrance in about 5 minutes, with us. Hori reports to us that the Palestinian coffee vendors are being harassed all the time and having new restrictions imposed on him on different pretexts.
The checkpoint now opens at 06:30. The deputy-head of the council of Umm-Reihan comes every morning from the village to the checkpoint, bringing with him two students, and waits to transport teachers who pass through the checkpoint from the side of the Palestinian Authority. He tells us that they arrived at an arrangement with the Coordination Office, that they would open the checkpoint at 06:30, to let the workers go through first, so that at 07:00, when the students and the teachers arrive, there would be less pressure. Today there are exams and therefore the schools are closed. We see only a few young girls who pass through the checkpoint.
The workers complain that on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday the checkpoint only opens at 07:00 and that makes it difficult for them to get to work.
There is no line next to the turnstile. Several cars passed from the Palestinian side to the seamline zone side. One car is inspected thoroughly because it contained work tools, but it passed without any problems.
At 07:00 there are still people who are waiting for transportation to their workplace. They say that today the checkpoint is good . . . .