Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 3.3.10, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
03:57 The gates open.
About 60-80 people go through each time when the turnstiles open.
The laborers call out to us that today everything’s ok.
04:15 We moved over to the exit. Four inspection booths are operating.
Dozens of laborers came over to us on their own initiative to report that things are working excellently today, and they hope it continues like this.
Unlike what occurred there yesterday, after the holiday.
The main points:
Yesterday the checkpoint opened only at 04:30, and people went through slowly. The line barely moved. 70% of the laborers returned home because they had to wait until after 08:00, which was too late. It was very crowded, resulting in shoving, injuries and people were taken to the hospital. Those who did get through yesterday said that only two inspection booths were open; two people told us that they were stuck in the rooms for two hours. As a result, today they planned to strike! The strike was cancelled because the gates opened early.
We were told that yesterday there was a strike at Qalqilya, and perhaps the crossing opened early today as a result.
Today, therefore, the inspection booths were manned by officers (at least at the beginning), and the inspection went quickly. They didn’t use the palm scanner or the x-ray machine, but just checked ID cards.
Two laborers from Tulkarm reported they’d awakened at 02:30 and were the first to arrive in order to organize the line without numbers. They said that when someone takes charge, people stay in line and don’t try to butt ahead.
Women stand separately.
Someone else said that he was detained in a room for an hour, but because the crossing opened early he was able to get through by 05:30. People didn’t stop exclaiming about how quickly the inspections were done today, and beg that things continue like this. They also say, “Why humiliate us for hours during the inspection? Our productivity as workers declines when we get up at two-thirty in the morning, and get to work after standing on our feet, waiting, tension and inspections for four or five hours.”
They repeat their request to allow laborers to go through near Baq’a al Gharbiyeh and at the Reihan crossing.
To see for ourselves how long it takes someone to get through, we went back to the entry turnstile and kept track of someone who’s clothing made him easy to identify. Although the line was no longer long, we did it anyway.
He arrived at 05:20, entered at 05:25 and came out at 06:05: a total of 45 minutes. He told us he’d been detained in the room for 15 minutes. We got the phone numbers of some of the people in order to call them tomorrow and find out when the crossing opened.
They say that since the strike it only opened once at 04:00 on Sunday.