Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 3.2.13, Morning

Observers: 
Leora Shamir, Varda Zur, Annelien Kisch (reporting)
03/02/2013
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Morning
 
 “No news from the Western Front”: ….thousands of Palestinians go to work in Israel…..

04:00    At our arrival we hear from the “Ecumenicals” that the terminal opened at 5 min. before 04:00 and that the special gate for the women was open at that time. It was closed though at 04:00 which obviously   created a problem for those women who arrived two or three minutes later.  The usual time this gate is open is till about ten min. after 04:00. The person, someone from the terminal-staff, who is responsible for opening/closing that gate must have been in a terrible hurry or “desperately needed inside”. Why otherwise is it not possible to take into account the - anyway already hard - lives of these Palestinian women and extend the opening time a few minutes more? Before we go to the exit gate at the other side of the terminal we ask the “Ecumenicals” to give a note with the entrance time to one of the laborers and we “mark” as well – in our memory – a bearded man the moment he enters the terminal so we can measure the time it takes for both man to pass all the security measures of the terminal.  

04:15   We go to the exit side; six checking booths are open (which means 12 lanes).  The proceedings seem rather smooth. Several women though complain that too many women are being gathered at the same time in the inspection room. They are packed in there as sardines! This is the strawberry-picking season and there is a demand for many women.  We indeed notice there are more women than usual. This (season!) must be a surprise for the terminal-management which seems to have difficulty in coping in a human way with so many women.            

04:40    There is a sudden stop. Those men that have not passed the last turnstile yet, have to return and are lined up along the wall; one of them has to be rechecked it seems. Five minutes later the work is resumed. The pressure of the now formed crowd at the turnstile is not being released by opening the side gate as was us being told during our meeting with the manager. The man with the beard exits: his passage took 17 min.  He is the older one of the two.  The younger one (with the note) needs three quarters of an hour to pass.

05:30    We leave.