Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Fri 21.6.13, Morning

observers: Leora Shamir, Annelien Kisch (reporting)

Irtach/ Sha’ar Efraim dawn                                                                            


Misinformation and/or unfulfilled promises*…..


05.00   On our way to the fence where we can observe the Palestinians enter, we see under the large gate-way an army vehicle parked. We dread problems, but coming near we see just two soldiers resting from their night-duties. The pathway leading towards the turnstiles is no longer closed at the sides with the result that the crowds are now closer to the fence; no special gate for the women any longer.  Apparently the management of the Terminal, who at one time send someone to take care of opening this gate for the first five minutes, has decided to abandon this service. Some laborers try to jump the queue by climbing over it.     

05.06   The turnstiles are opened at last; the usual running to the magnometer. The area between the turnstiles and the magnometer is filthy and littered with paper, plastic bags etc.

05.20   At the exit side one of the two doors is closed so we cannot see how many checking booths are open, but we hear that in the 4 lanes (2 booths) that are open the checking is done efficiently. Indeed we hear less complaints this Friday. About 30 people exit per minute. It took one person 20 minutes from entrance till exit. The turnstile gives some problems: on and off it falters and people get stuck inside.

Some Palestinians who want to return home after their night-job tell us they are waiting from 05.00.    Only at 05.45are they allowed to pass.

05.50   A gentleman who works for the P.A. in the Terminal (“they all know me”) and who only accompanied his aging and invalid mother to the Israeli side on her way to visit her daughter, also wants to return. We (and he) try to attract the attention of one of the guards without success. After some time a girl in one of the checking-booth notices our calling and gesticulations and tries –by phone- to relate the request of opening either the gate or reversing the rotation of the turnstile. To no avail! So, Leora decides to talk to the guards on the Terminal’s parking lot. *They claim the moment they hear someone wants to return they will ask to open the side gate.  No way! Only after more than 40 minutes waiting (after 6.30) can this Palestinian return. Time is money, but not for the Palestinians apparently.

For about 20 minutes more, Leora tries to influence the -almost all of them Ethiopian- guards’-mindset to, at least, not generalize. One literally said: “every Palestinian I see here will murder me (if he has the opportunity)”. How can they think otherwise as their whole training is based on seeing the whole Palestinian population as “The Enemy”?!