Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Mon 7.4.08, Morning
Meitar (Sansana) CP
We arrived at the crossing shortly after 7:00 and stayed until 7:45. About 50 Palestinians were waiting to cross. The line began to move quickly while we were there. They reported that the security checks were very slow both yesterday and today and long waits were involved. They complained that the situation at the crossing was worse than it had been when the army was in control. They also reported that there now are long waits when they re-enter the West Bank at the end of day.
We talked to the head of the shift (Michael) and to the head of the crossing (Shlomo). In response to our question about the slowness of the processing, they told us there are two stations to process the Palestinians and today (yesterday also?) there was glitch with one of the computers at one station and at the other, there was a problem with the machine that identifies hand prints. Both Michael and Shlomo report that two other stations are ready to function but lack the necessary electronic equipment and that they have no idea how long it will take the Defense Ministry to provide funds for this equipment. Michael agreed that if the crossing were opened a half an hour earlier there would be less problem processing the workers waiting to cross. In contrast, Shlomo said that the number of workers waiting to cross at the early hours was relatively few so there is no need to open the crossing earlier. In other words, if we are to believe Shlomo, the reports we received from the workers are baseless. Only someone willing to go early (4:30) with a small camera would be able to document the number of workers arriving early and the speed of their processing.
Dura-Al Fawwar: open. There was a jeep at the turn just before Beit Haggai.
Sheep junction: open. Two jeeps stationed across the road from Bani Nayim.
Shuyukh junction - The taxi drivers on the Shuyukh side of the junction reported that they were being held for up to three hours at the internal road block between Shuyukh and Bani Hayim which is manned by the Border Police. They also reported that at about 9am in the morning university students crossing the road to get to their classes at Hebron University were been subjected to lengthy security checks which prevented them from getting to class.
The Border Police unit stationed at the junction told us they were not usually stationed there. They were temporarily replacing a Nahal unit. According to them, the length of time a person is held for a check does not depend on them. They have to wait until the clearance is given by the Internal Security Service and this can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours. They said it is sometime difficult to get through to the office in charge of security clearance.
Sair-Halhoul junction: Open.
Road 356 - 317
Zif junction- We passed this junction at 8:40. It was open. The road leading up to Al Twani after the settlement Carmel had been cleared of its barrier as had the road across from it.