Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 31.7.11, Morning
03.50 Irtach. The Palestinian ‘usher’ told us people had arrived since 03.30-03.55. Two carousels opened. All those waiting entered, about 130, including 18 women. Afterwards everyone passed through on arrival – the carousels did not close. Two EAPPI volunteers kept count.
03.55-04.30. 506 men, 32 women. Compared with other Sundays this number is low – perhaps because of Ramadan? From 04.30 many people come. 120-130 people pass the carousels which then close just for a minute or two. We almost don’t hear the man in the cubicle, sometimes (rarely) he asks someone to open his bag, when the magnometer beeps. We remember the strike (a year ago?) when they asked to open the crossing at 04:00 instead of 04.30 and how people had to wait for hours and the rough treatment they got. It is quite different today.
04.30-05.00. 996 men, 30 women. We checked with one person at 04.20. He came out 8 minutes later, smiling. A good day! Four others came out after 10-17 minutes. They ask us why it is forbidden to carry water through. We are amazed. Forbidden? Yes, they say. One man says a small bottle is allowed. Another says one can take water, but not frozen. Checking times: from 05.00, exits at 05.20, another at 05.27. We are told that returning to Tulkarm in the afternoon there are no checks – people pass through freely. Altogether today about 3,700 men and women pass through – like a normal Sunday. Eyal (data from EAPPI): The passage opened at 04.00. By 06.00, 3,706 men and 64 women passed through. At 06.00 there is no queue, anyone arriving passes through immediately.