Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Thu 27.8.09, Morning

Yehudit Levin, Michal Bostok (reporting); Natanya translating

We arrived at Irtah at 4.25. Dark and quiet and only the sounds of voices from the queue of which we could not see the end - a moaning sound.

4.30 The checkpoint opened.

4.40 Hardly any line. Whoever arrived went in immediately. A small number of the people carried small bags. They said that about half the people did not come because of Ramadan and those who do come are not fasting. Because of the respect shown towards those fasting and/or because they do not want to be seen with food they buy it on the Israeli side. People praying are seen in every corner inside the checkpoint and around it.  They say the passage is Ok.  There are complaints about the long wait of half an hour to an hour on their return around 13.00, 14.00. They are tired, the sun is burning down and they are tense with the desire to get home early. They say that 4-5 windows are open in the morning but in the afternoon only two.

5.00 We counted about 35-40 workers passing through each minute at a fast pace.

5.30 The rate of exit is slower.

When we came to the entrance of the checkpoint there had been no queue but 4 four minutes the turnstile stayed closed and then there was pressure. Now and again for no discernible reason the entrance was closed and then opened again. As far as we could see on the other side of the few coming out there was no reason for delay.  But we cannot really know what is happening on the other side.

6.15 We left.