Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Fri 31.5.13, Morning

Observers: 
Nur B.O., (photographer) Sna'it G. (reporting)
31/05/2013
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Morning

  Translator: Hanna K.

 

0400-0645 Dawn Shift
 
0400 - A large group of men was sitting in the part, nearest to the electric turnstiles. They were waiting and smoking. In the plot near the fenced-in path there was a small group of women who were also waiting, sitting on the floor.
At Irtah the fence was lately raised, to serve instead of the upper barbed wire, and the elevation is well electrified, so that a large, metal electrical cupboard was added as well.
0445 - The entire lane leading to the electrical turnstiles was very crowded. The women waited outside the fence and the gate which enables them to join the main lane was opened only after the electrical turnstiles were activated. Many women complained when coming out of the checking booth about the crowding and all Its effects concerning them. They did it in words and in body language too.
When the turnstiles were opened at five o'clock exactly - an hour later than on all the other days - there was an awful galloping of people in the direction of the opening to the checking booths. At least two people climbed on the roof of the lane and tried to squeeze through the barbed wire fences which cover the part which has no roof, in order to bypass the queue and to enter quicker.
The first wave of people who entered the building came out quickly, within 7-8 
Only two posts for the checking of papers operated during the first twenty five minutes, and then a third post was opened. Around six o'clock a fourth post began operating but it didn't act continuously.
• The exit of people after the first quick wave became slower and slower until it was very slow in the end. Loud voices of discontent, anger and shoving came from the checking installation region which we weren't able to see. All those who came out expressed with body language and explicit words their anger at the situation. According to them there were only two people who worked at the point where bodies and belonging were checked, and as mentioned there were only a few posts for the checking of papers. That was the reason that each person had to wait inside for about half an hour and sometimes even more, from the moment they entered the checking installation until they left it.
Around 0615 there were hardly any people entering the checking installation but loud voices of anger and discontent emerged from it.
At 0620 the tempo of the checking became suddenly quicker and many people emerged simultaneously. 
At 0645 all the checking posts were shut down.
A relatively small number of people are crowded together in the yard after they came out of the checking area, and there was no communal praying. Single persons prayed in the corridor of the checking installation, when they came out of the paper checking booths. Most of the people ran towards the taxis or began immediately walking to the main road in order to catch the busses to their places of work.
People who come from the Jenin area have to leave home at half past two In the morning. Many people have to begin work at 0600.
It has been known for some time that the installation is opened an hour too late on Fridays and that the company employs fewer workers - probably in order to save on the special payment of the early hours until six o'clock. It seems to us that one should consider legal acts or other measures against the company because it does not adhere on Fridays to the conditions of the contract and because it does not set up a separate circuit for women (even If such an act is just intended to improve the situation and not to abolish the checkpoint entirely.