'Anabta, Irtah, Jubara (Kafriat), Sun 9.11.08, Morning

Yael A., Rachel, H. (reporting)

Translation: Galia S.

Irtah checkpoint

06:55 – Employers' vehicles can be seen parked at a relatively great distance from the gate and the parking lot, and the area around it is teeming with people. We go on to the turnstile and see over 50 people waiting there and more people keep coming.

The turnstile opens three minutes after we arrive and about 100 people pass. Three minutes later the turnstile opens again and this time only 10 workers pass while many others, scores of them, still stand crowded near the turnstile. We park our car and ask those who pass the reason for the congestion. One of the workers says that only two out of three inspection lanes are open and only five out of fourteen posts operate.

One employer says he has been waiting for a worker for 2 hours already. We ask more questions and he answers that the place is that crowded on Monday and Tuesday, too. We ask to talk to the head of the facility and he comes out and explains that a technical failure in the inspection system has caused the delay. In addition to that, the number of workers that pass the checkpoint is much higher on account of the citrus fruit and the olive picking – between 3000 to 3500 people a day.

He claims that the checkpoint opens at 04:30 although the employers pick them up starting at 06:00. It seems, then, that waiting for the employers is the major cause of frustration, yet it is easier to lay the blame on the inspection at the checkpoint. He refuses to answer the question regarding the number of operating inspection posts, admitting, however, that budget restrictions don't enable optimal operation… Answering yet another question we have, he says that the staff is reinforced on Sundays. He stresses the fact that the people who pass the checkpoint are treated better and with more courtesy than in certain international airports and that the staff is especially trained aiming to improve the treatment.


 07:30 – Empty in both directions. We don't enter Ar-Ras, but at the entrance to the village, in front of the gate, we see an automatic barrier and traffic lights.


07:45 – In both directions there are no lines and the traffic is streaming.

We go on to Beit Iba. On our way back we see that at Jubara checkpoint there is no separation line and only one lane is open.