Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Fri 9.11.12, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
When we arrive the gate is open. The first people to leave ask, for the umpteenth time, why doesn't the gate is open earlier. Why is it that on Fridays the gate does not open at the same time as during the week?
At the entrance sleeve the queue is not crowded this time, the shouting is not loud and the amount of those leaving is lower than usual.
At the exit side the flow of those leaving is constant. It appears that all the checkpoints are functioning. One of those leaving (young) complains of the crowding in the examination room. According to him about 40 people are crowded like chickens in a cage (his expression) into a fairly small and unaired room, and asks: Why? Aren't we human beings?
It is raining. At the corner, by the exit turnstile, those wanting to return mill around. No-one opens it for them. They try to get someone's attention to see that they are here – no response.
We decide to go to the roadblock offices and try to speak to the commander. The guards are polite, get in touch with the person responsible for the shift and after a minute or two they get an order and a woman's voice orders – "Tell them to leave the fenced off area. They should wait outside". We are sent out into the rain. One of the sentries feels uncomfortable. He comes over and says that it will take the commander a while because he is busy. We are left to get wet in the rain, and when I ask for shelter, he offers a roof some way off which we can stand under.
The shift manager comes out to us at 6 a.m., Liora points out, politely, that we are not the enemy and there is no real reason not to allow us to shelter from the rain… When we ask why no one takes any notice of those wishing to return he answers – we can see them, we have cameras, and they know that. So why do they not open the gate for them? We are not prepared for two way traffic at the crossing. Why should they not open a side gate which we had seen going round the side of the building for those returning (who are not examined)? The answer – our work schedule is not your business.
To the question as to why the building does not open earlier on Fridays, the reply is that these are our orders.
We requested, and received, the telephone number of the person responsible for the functioning of the gate. We will make contact and ask for a meeting.