Tura – Shaked Checkpoint, 06:53-07:20
The checkpoint was already open several minutes before the official opening time at 07:00 and the soldiers were getting organized. Everything was running smoothly and the first person crossed from the West Bank at 07:05.
During the past few months there has been very little traffic at this checkpoint on Saturdays. Perhaps this is due to permits have been cancelled and not been issues, and there are few jobs in agriculture?) Today there were slightly more people crossing as opposed to previous Saturdays but still not many. Vehicles and everyone crossed without delay in both directions.
Barta'a-Reihan Checkpoint, 07:30 – 08:00
There were many people crossing here and there were many taxis waiting in the upper parking lot. And groups of workers were waiting for their rides on the side of the road.
We walked down to the terminal and many people were coming up in the other direction. One person angrily told us that crossing was very slow and that only one window was open in the terminal.
A young man showed us his green [Palestinian] ID card with a sticker on the cover that said "Special Security Forces" and other markings that we could not understand. He asked us to explain what they were. Aside from the meaning of the initials for "Special Security Forces" we did not know what to tell him. We understood that the sticker was placed there at the checkpoint on the same morning when we met him in the sleeve after he had crossed the checkpoint. He could not tell us if he had received any instructions or warning. We gave him a note with contact information for Sylvia.
When we reached the entrance to the terminal we saw that there were four inspection windows open and that there was a line in front of them. Another person who came out told us that it took him 40 minutes to get through the checkpoint. Our view was blocked and we could not see what was happening and could not follow what was happening to people coming in or time how long it took them. Meanwhile one of the people coming out told us that crossing today was quick and easy. "Really?" we asked. "Yes, really. I like them. Do you think I would say so for no reason?" Later another person told us that he had crossed quickly and it is difficult to know for sure. Possibly some people are delayed and others are not. At any rate a lot of people were crossing to the seamline zone, and a few were crossing to the seamline zone.
Several people approached us and asked for help obtaining permits and eliminating bans to enter Israel. We gave them Sylvia's contact information. Thank you Sylvia, Ronit, Hannah and tami and everyone else who deal with the hopeless requests of people who want to work in Israel.