Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Mon 21.12.09, Morning

Hanna A., Naomi L. (Reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

We arrived a short time before the checkpoint opened.  There is a large crowd of laborers - men and women - on the road leading to the checkpoint, trying to be first in line.

We stand on the other side of the barbed wire – “The shrine to the women of Machsom Watch.”

The checkpoint opens on time, at 04:30. Groups of 20 people run towards the magnometer at the entrance to the facility.

We went to the exit from the checkpoint where the first workers were beginning to come out, five minutes after it opened.  We heard the same familiar but justified complaints about the early hour people must get up, about delays in the checkpoint for no apparent reason, but we also heard many people say, “Today’s a good day”. 

Hanna counted the people coming out within five minutes. There were about 100, approximately 3,000 during the morning.

05:50 – We went back to the entrance of the checkpoint.  It is still very crowded.  We alternated between observing what was going on in the parking lot, talking with workers who were working in the pick in the area of Ramleh, looking at the booths for selling coffee and cigarettes, and talking to the people who have come out quickly but now have to wait for an hour and a half until their employers come to pick them up and take them to work.  We listen but cannot do anything to help.

06:20 – We returned to the entrance road to the checkpoint.  There is little traffic.  Another morning went by without any noticeable events. It is depressing. I almost forgot – the sign or welcome announcement is still working but is almost over.