Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 17.1.10, Morning

Observers: 
Annelien K, Ditsa J (reporting)
17/01/2010
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Morning
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

There is no news under the sun; the old bothers and depresses. 

04:32 As we walk towards the checkpoint, we see that the parking area is closed, but it is opened a couple of minutes afterwards. On our way to the entrance we are met in the night by loud voices and cries – it is clear that there is a lot of tension. The scene of the   opening of the carrousel and the run of the people in their attempt to get to the checkpoint first – is difficult to behold. A woman runs to the carrousel screaming, cursing – we don’t understand the reason.

The internationals: Hildegard and Peter, whom we talk to through the fence, report that the checkpoint was opened on time at 04:30. 

04:50 We go the exit of the checkpoint. 

04:55 We counted the number of persons passing per minute: 22. 

05:05 The exit carrousel is closed for one and a half minutes. Why? God has the answers. The decree that has been visited upon us, that we have no right or possibility to enter the checkpoint and see what goes on inside – is maddening. Maybe there are ways to rescind this decree? 

05:10 During 5 minutes 160 persons came out of the checkpoint. 

05:15 A man came out of the checkpoint excited and agitated, actually trembling with anger. He tells that 20 – 30 persons are let into the examination room (which is meant to contain only 8 persons), in insufferable crowding; the examinees are forbidden to speak in the room and if anything gets lost there, it cannot be retrieved.

A woman who comes out says sadly: today the situation is difficult.

More people are furious, and complain. They tell about the fence in front of the entrance of the checkpoint area which has fallen down one and a half months ago and nobody is having it repaired. One of the people passing showed that his hand was hurt this morning by the fence, and others are upset that some persons bypass the line through the hole in the fence.

We understand that our authorities and the Palestinian authority throw each other the ball of responsibility for dealing with the matter.

It is important that this be taken care of. Even if the fence is in the PA territory, it is part of the checkpoint, and it is only logical that the Civilian Administration should be responsible for the repair. Even if not so – this is the organization that is nominally responsible for the fence to be repaired. 

05:45 We returned to the start of our itinerary. According to the Internationals some 2500 passed until now. And again, the mad run of the people inside the pen whenever the carrousel is opened.

The orders of the guard, whom we have no way of seeing, reach our ears: Hallo, no mess! One by one!

06:00 The carrousel is closed for 4 min. 

06:10