Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 21.6.09, Morning

Ada Heilbronn, Annelien Kisch (reporting)

4.32   From far we can see that no workers arrived yet on the parking lot.

4.34   The first group of Palestinian workers pass the first turnstiles, three lanes are                                             open (Weren’t the gatesinfo-icon supposed to open at 4.00 at least on Sundays when there are even more Palestinians waiting to pass??)

  About every 2min. groups of 16 persons are let in.

(at 5.30 a pause of ten minutes seems endless to us, although the immense crowd of waiting people stand silently and seemingly patient )(Strangely enough suddenly, after this pause, there seems to be room for more people to be “handled” as a group of 35 are allowed to pass the turnstiles.)

   Most of the Palestinians are “well trained” and know which packages to put on the side-table, also how far to get undressed before passing the magnometer: belts and shoes off; (no watches for the Palestinians: they live timeless anyhow, waking at 2.00 a.m. and doing an 8 hour workday, starting the earliest at 7 a.m).

  In spite of that sometimes a buzz tells “DANGER” which means that all those that passed too soon after the buzz will have to return and the evildoer has to find what he forgot to release.

  Someone with large plastic bags and a big box cannot find what was the problem, is send, together with his helper, to a side corner and has to unpack his load in front of a for-us-only-voice to make sure he is not endangering Israel’s safety.

It happens too often that the handprint-machine gives inconclusive results. While we were there at least 6 persons were sent back and will have to wait for the DCO to open their office.

  A very healthy looking contractor from Tybe waits in his black “limo”, with hands full of permits, counting “his” workers that are boarding a bus for 60 persons. They come to him with a frightening servility. Indeed their lives depend totally on him. Somehow, this seems to pain more: profiting from “his own people”. As soon as the bus is full it leaves for Kfar Saba and Kiryat Ono.

Some Palestinians exploit the coolness of the exit-hall to perform their morning-prayers, under a sign saying “Exit to the vehicle-park, have a safe and enjoyable stay” and competing with the hypocrisy of the large billboard with “The Hope of us All+ pink flower”, at the Palestinians side of the checkpoint-complex.

  It seems that after all the sophisticated checking, we still are not safe : from a gallery over this exit hall all those exiting from the booths are watched from above by an armed guard.

We left about 6.00 not to be caught in the heavy traffic towards Tel Aviv.