Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 15.6.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Irtah, dawn shift
This morning people entered quickly for inspections.
At 04:02 there was no line on the eastern side – whoever arrived entered immediately.
04:05 The first people have already come through. Women, men – hurrying to their rides.
All the inspection booths are open.
We’re told that some people arrive later because the crossing goes faster these days, compared to how it was.
Outside we see the familiar scene, a line of people praying, others drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, talking, most seated on the sidewalks, on the side of the road, or sleeping on the traffic island. There’s room for only a few on the benches.
As has often happened in the past, people approached us about Fridays. The fact that the checkpoint opens an hour later, at 05:00, leads to chaos, people don’t stay in line, they push ahead, there’s a lot of tension. Last Friday only two booths were open, and until additional booths opened the crossing was slow and very congested – and Friday’s a shorter workday as it is. Cf. the report from Irtach, dated 23.7.10. The same scenes, the same complaints – and nothing changed!
04:45 Many people continue to enter the facility one after another, with almost no waiting.
A voice over the loudspeaker: Are you new here?! (Meaning: How dare you!) Go around again. Remove everything.
05:10 People waiting pack the square.
The exit from the facility is congested – people with a sack of food in one hand, an ID in the other, putting belts back on (always an embarrassing sight), then immediately lighting a cigarette to calm down.
When we asked, we were told that it was ok.
Another says: “Not ok, not ok, never ok!”
As if to say:
Don’t make any mistake – it’s organized, orderly, you know what to expect – but occupation is occupation is occupation.
Someone else smiles at us while putting on his belt: “Is Machsom Watch back in business?”
We asked: “Why do you say “back”? He says: We no longer see you at Nablus, at Tapuach.
05:35 A worker at the facility runs out – stops the people who’ve exited and are walking on the sidewalk to their transportation. He’s wearing a yellow hat on which “Security” is written. Everyone stops. After a few seconds – he goes back as quickly as he came out, and the laborers continue on their way.
06:00 We want to observe the eastern entrance to the facility.
A few seconds after we press the intercom button, an employee arrives to accompany us. It seems that the lawyer’s letter helped.
On the eastern side, a crowded line of people entering slowly. It’s orderly, as usual, stretching back to the “market” sheds. We don’t recall such congestion at such a late hour.
06:05 Congestion at the revolving gates at the exit.