'Anabta, 'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Te'enim Crossing, Sun 29.5.11, Morning
07:10 Habla Agricultural GateGate is open. Steady stream of Palestinians on foot, bike, tractor, donkey and carriages. Two hummers are on site. A bit of chaos on the Palestinian side as frustration mounts at the slow pace of processing the passage.
We spoke to a Palestinian who came to the gate to pick up a worker. He explained that he leaves his house at 5 AM and by the time he crosses (gate 109) and comes to fetch his workers from Habla it is after 8 AM when he finally gets to work. A three hour process every day. We felt hostility and despair form the Palestinians who passed through, some even asked us why we were there when day after day nothing in their routine changes. We waited till 8AM when the man’s worker finally got through the gate.
08:05 Eliyahu Crossing
The crossing is clear; there are no hold ups and no lines.
08:10 Izbat Tabib
We drive on a side road (parallel to Road 55) to see if there are any checkpoints at Izbat Tabib. The gate is open. We meet and pick up a Palestinian woman who asks for a lift to Azzun. We regret that we are unable to chat with her as she doesn’t speak any Hebrew or English and we don’t speak Arabic.
We drive through and the yellow gate is open and unmanned.
08:30 Falamya Agricultural Gate 927
The gate is open, quiet, only one tractor passes while we are there. There is moderate traffic on the road to Tulkarm.
The gate is unmanned and there is a free flow of traffic in both directions
09:25 Te’enim Crossing
We are waved through without being stopped.
09:30 Irtah (Sha’ar Efraim)
We walk to the back turnstiles to find a group of 50-60 people who tell us that they have been waiting for an hour in the hot sun without anyone going through. We try to find out what the hold up is at the main entrance gate and speak to a couple of people who tell us that the computers are down. We call the Humanitarian Line in Jerusalem and are told that they will check it out. We head back to the turnstiles and indeed the turnstiles are opened and several people are let through and then nothing again. We call the Humanitarian number again and shortly thereafter the gates begin to open every couple of minutes with 6-8 people allowed through each time. We hoped that it was because the computer problems had been resolved.