Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Tue 10.8.10, Morning
Translation: Galia S.
The front part of the winding lane, fenced on all sides, is extremely crowded. The women crowd the foremost part.
The turnstiles at the entrance open at 04:05. During the first half hour people pass all the checks within 5-10 minutes. The entrance turnstiles are open for a longer time and a lot of people jam into the yard in a line that flows quickly to the magnetometer.
Starting at 04:30, the pressure of the people outside increases and this is when the delays start. The entrance turnstiles shut down three times between 04:30 and 05:00, twice for 3-4 minutes (at one of the times the exit turnstile closes, too) and another time, a short while before 05:00 for about 7 minutes. During the first half hour people leave at a fast pace: about 65 people in 5 minutes. After 05:00 the pace slackens: about 35-40 people in 5 minutes. The time between entering and leaving stretches into 20-25 minutes. Men and women leaving the CP complain about the longer stay in the inspection rooms and about repeated questions they have to answer – percieved by them as humiliating – supposedly to verifythe already-known details of the permit holders, which appear on the computer printout, and can also be seen on the checkers'screens. One example is the case of a woman, an agricultural worker, who was delayed for almost half an hour and the other women in her group had to wait for her.
Some people express concern over what will happen at the time of Ramadan on entering Israel and even more, on going back home. They also request that the opening hour on Friday be earlier and that on Sundays MachsomWatch women be present.
Galit wants to take pictures of the exit area but one of the security people explains that it is forbidden: an instruction by the Ministry of Defence.
Efrayim Gate, Eyal
Shortly after 06:00 we pass through the area of "back-to-back" transfer of merchandise [between vehicles that can't cross the checkpoint] at Efrayim Gate. Huge trucks and tankers have already been waiting on the Israeli side whereas their counterparts from the side of the occupied territories haven't arrived yet.
We drive on to see what's going on in Eyal at this late hour. Not too many people have left. They complain about long delays in the checking rooms, the disorder, the heat and the crowdedness that are there. Standing on the path parallel to the inspection building, we can hear the mixture of loud and angry voices, mostly in Arabic.