Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 20.1.13, Morning
04:05. From a distance the gate doesn’t appear to be open. When we approached the fence we saw it was. Everything’s “working.”
The ecumenical representative says the gates opened at 04:00 - including the women’s gate, which opened only for ten minutes. Traffic flows.
The ecumenicals tell us about their problems with the local Palestinian regime which apparently believes that making it easier for Palestinians crowded in the entry lanes is equivalent to collaborating with Israel…
04:25 We move toward the exit gate to Israel. Those coming through complain about congestion and shoving at the entrance gate (packed together like sardines). They say there are more people this week than last Sunday.
They say that in the inspection rooms they have to take off coats, hats, shoes and belts.
They tell us that IDF checkpoints are much more humane and considerate than those run by private companies, and if there’s great congestion they try to find a solution to make it easy for people. They say that staff at the privatized checkpoints treat people badly.
At 04:21 we picked out two people at the entrance to the facility to see how long it will take them to cross. We hadn’t seen them emerge by the time we left (unless we missed them in the flow of people).
04:55 The revolving gate at the exit is locked, and those who didn’t manage to get through are called back to the building, doors slam (I’ve never seen them closed). The ecumenicals report by phone that the entrance gates are also closed. The DCO doesn’t answer their phone at this hour. The ecumenicals call the humanitarian office – nobody there knows what’s going on.k
05:17 The doors open and then the revolving gate starts working.
05:20 Since at 05:30 we had to meet elsewhere someone who had been blacklisted, we left (the meeting didn’t take place due to lack of communication).
At the exit we saw that when the doors were closed the exit gates from the facility’s courtyard had also been locked, and only one gate remained half open when we left.