'Anabta, Deir Sharaf, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Thu 21.1.10, Afternoon
13:55 - The agricultural gate is closed.
The settlement Shvut Ami
14:10 - A man carrying a package is walking briskly inside the plot toward the house. He must be a settler.
Deir Sharaf (The Barrels) checkpoint
14:15 - The post is empty of soldiers. Soldiers are watching from a vehicle parking close to the turn of the new road, built for the exclusive use of Shvut Ami settlers (an apartheid road).
Near the turn from road 60 to the village of Beit Lid an Israeli flag has been stuck to mark the place where a settler was shot last month.
14:20 - Green traffic lights and vehicles travel in both lanes. We don't see any soldiers in the posts. Although it's hard to see, we think from what we have learned in the past, the watch tower is manned.
Irtah checkpoint (Efrayim Gate)
14:40 - There is a line at the entrance to the checkpoint although there are scarcely any vehicles that transport workers returning from work. The Palestinians tell us that they have already been waiting for half an hour near the turnstile. Over the wall we can see the security people standing and talking outside the enclosures. The people waiting there have been told that the computer is down. When we say that we are not allowed to get in and see what is going on there, one of the workers says that I'd better not go in there and see how they are treated, transferred from one place to another like pigs.
At the crossing to Israel, on the other side, three men are standing in the mud in front of closed turnstiles, having been there for an hour. We have tried to call the Humanitarian Center and the Tulkarm DCO for help [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits] but to no avail. Calls directed at the cameras in the place haven't helped either.
Finally, they are able to enter but the instructions over the loudspeakers are in Hebrew and when one of them tries to say they don't speak Hebrew, he gets a rude answer over the loudspeaker, "I am in charge of the place, not you". All this takes place in front of a huge sign saying in Arabic, Hebrew and English, "All of us share the hope". (A photo will be enclosed).
15:15 - A line builds up in next to the turnstile of the people that leave Israel, most of whom come back after visiting prisoners. Suddenly they let them all in at the same time. Maybe our presence here has to do with it.
We go back to the turnstiles for entering Israel where a woman and small kids have been waiting for the father in a cab in the parking lot. The Palestinian has been told to cross at Irtah but has had to stand in front of the entering turnstiles being unable to enter the inspection area at all. Over the loudspeaker they tell him, an elderly woman and another man to show the permit. It happens even before the turnstiles are opened. (Photo enclosed).
15:50 - The turnstile leading to the inspection area opens, but the woman has already left.