Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Mon 19.3.12, Morning
We decided to go out on a dawn shift after last week's report concerning problems of the passage of workers. We actually saw a relatively swift passage, with no special problems, except for the very fact of having to arrive from all parts of the West Bank to one checkpoint, from which everyone goes to their workplace in the central region.
There were Palestinians walking along the road to Irtach (not clear to what destination). The parking lot was full of cars and vans collecting workers on their way. Hundreds of workers were scattered around the area, having already passed through the inspection and waiting for transport, sitting and standing in groups; smoking, eating breakfast which they brought with them and clustering around the cafeteria whose owners do well every morning selling coffee, tea and other extras. We also checked the entry spot for inspection (behind yet other fences and shacks whose purpose was not clear) and the turnstyles open and close quickly. At 05:00 the line next to the entrance was already quite short. People with whom we spoke reported on a passage within an hour (to them this seemed quite fast).
The situation at Ayal was similar: lots of people around and many vehicles coming and going. Because of the structure of the place (here too they have added a roofed over lane) it was impossible to see the line of people entering or the exit. The workers whom we questioned said the passage here too was fine.
In the end, a van driver approached us: he was from Jerusalem and brings workers all over the occupied territory. He spoke from his heart and it was clear that we gave him the opportunity to let off steam and express his discouragement; from us as well. "What do you do? You come. You stand around and write things down...but nothing ever changes." And so on. I think to myself, "What do they - the Palestinians, poverty stricken, think about us? How do they see us?
It was too early to travel to Habla, where the checkpoint only opens at 7:00, so we returned home.