05:55 – Barta’a Checkpoint
The upper parking lot is filled with workers and vehicles. Workers come up from the terminal on their way to work. People arrive all the time but the line to enter the terminal is not long. At 06:10, an announcement is heard over the loudspeaker, three armed security guards run to the terminal and yell down the whole length of the sleeve (the enclosed area leading to and from the terminal). They stop movement to the outside, the entrance gate is closed and all activity at the checkpoint stops. Someone passed through without a permit!!!! How did this happen??
The line to the entrance grows and stretches to the road. After 10 minutes the gate is opened again. Now about 110 people enter the turnstile but the activity in the terminal begins slowly. It is crowded there and noisy. Only at 06:25 all five inspection windows work again and people can go outside. Most of them are complaining: “What a situation this is . . .” “Today is not good at all and there is chaos.” There are veterans who do not complain; for them, “this is the usual condition.”
06:40 – The line at the entrance is still long. Large groups enter the terminal but the delays are substantial.
The workers turn to us with two problems: they are prohibited from passing through the checkpoint with bottles of water larger than 2 liters it is impossible to fill a large bottle at the water fountain in the sleeve, because of the shape of the faucet. The second problem is that there is only one turnstile for both entering and and exiting from the checkpoint. Because of this, and because of the military vehicles' traffic on the road next to the turnstile, passage through the terminal is stopped. In the afternoon it gets very crowded. The workers ask to be allowed to pass also via the road. Anyway there is no inspection there.
06:50 – Tura Checkpoint
Quiet. It looks like the checkpoint isn’t yet open for passage. Inside the checkpoint there are soldiers and 3 vehicles arrive with additional armed soldiers (and a stretcher). On the West Bank Side there are many vehicles and workers waiting for passage. It turns out that there is a military exercise that had to be carried out exactly at the time of the opening of the checkpoint.
At 07:10, the checkpoint begins to function. There is loud noise from inside the crowded turnstile and the passage of people begins. At 07:20, most of the soldiers leave and the passage of cars in two directions begins.