Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Jubara (Kafriat), Shomron Crossing, Sun 4.3.12, Morning
04:15 Several people already came out of the terminal. A relatively newly constructed gate that can prevent us from reaching the point where the Palestinian laborers enter the terminal, and so make us unable to watch the proceedings there, was open.
We talked to two representatives of the EAPPI, Erico and Jorma, the “Ecumenicals”, who observe on the Palestinian side; they told us that the gate opened at 04:03.
Hundreds of people wait on the Palestinian side. A group of 80-90 laborers went through the first carrousels/ turnstiles and were crowding in front of the magnometer because many shoes and packages were being checked. The atmosphere is rather quiet (not barking out orders all the time as sometimes happens here). Only once an order in Arabic (we do not understand, but guess) was called through the loudspeaker “ to keep clear of the gate”.
04:22 Another group of about 70 people passed through and then the turnstiles were closed again for about 5 minutes. The “Ecumenicals” told us there is a separate gate for the women that was closed at about 04:06 as all the 70 women present had passed. Even from where they are standing they can see not one human being of the security firm that runs the terminal. We asked them to give their visiting-card noting the time, to one of the workers to pass it on to us at the exit. This way we can get an impression of the timeframe the Palestinians stay inside the terminal. Just before we went to the other- exit – side someone was sent back. Erico asked the reason: as a merchant his permit allows his passages only at 07:00. Until 04:30 they counted about 800 workers and by then 90 women had passed.
04:40 The Palestinian who gave us the “timing-card” passed rather quickly: we guess (as he did not give it immediately when he came out) about 15 min. He tells us it helps to speed things up when we (M.W) are there. Usually it takes about 30 min average. He works in building, earns 220 shekel per day, has a permit to sleep over for a week but prefers to travel every day to and from.
05:15 We counted 75 people in 5 min, but the number of workers coming out is irregular: at first only three or 4 lanes are open later on at least 8. They are allowed to pray in the corridor before exiting the last turnstile.
06:00 We left and drove to Sha’ar Shomron to see if we can enter the road to Jubara. When we asked her permission as M.W’ers, the woman-commandant told us friendly she will let us enter if she will get the order from “someone we surely know and can contact”. As we didn’t know who, it did not work out. The “children’s gate” is open 24 hours she claims.
06:30 A phone call from Erico asking if we are still at the terminal and telling us that rather suddenly only about 5 or 10 workers at the time were let in through the entrance turnstiles with intervals of 5min. Did indeed our being there influence the proceedings?