Irtah, Sun 15.3.09, Morning

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Translation: Galia S.

Irtah checkpoint

10:30 – There are almost no people here. Infrastructure works are carried out at the site of the garden adjacent to the road out of the checkpoint (terminal) toward the parking lot. All the flowers have been uprooted and instead of them, concrete circles have sprung up as a preparation for something which is not quite clear.

On the other side of the structure we meet two people who have already been to the DCO [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits] and came back disappointed because, again, they didn't get the permit they keep asking for. There is a magnetic card but no permit.

11:00 – There is a huge traffic jam that starts at the turn from road 60 toward Deir Sharaf. The road is practically blocked. A quick inquiry discovers that soldiers are working on setting up a new checkpoint that will replace that of Beit Iba. Most of the drivers are standing outside their cars. They are confused, too, and they are trying to maneuver out of the mess. We are advised to pass quickly because in a little while it'll be closed.

As a matter of fact, close to the new location there are many heavy vehicles with all that is needed for setting up a checkpoint within an hour. On both sides of the road there are two pillboxes, barrier rocks, a yellow metal arm, a Hummer, soldiers and the Israeli flag. The set is almost complete.