Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 20.10.13, Morning
The early morning Friday shift (18.10) was exceptionally calm, probably due to the holiday, but several groups warned that tomorrow (this Sunday) was expected to be tumultuous. It would be the first day of the agricultural season and many women are due to pass through – the opening of the women's gate was doubtful. Moreover, a large number of permits were issued and many laborers would be on their way back to work.
The gate opened up at 04:00, we arrived at 04:15.
04:18: On their way from the separation wall a long queue proceeded with praiseworthy speed to the CP. Laura remarked that never had she seen such efficiency at the gate. The Palestinians were very quiet. The groups entering the gate were larger than usual – about 40 in each group. Most of the people passing were adults.
We found the women's gate open and a number of women were waiting outside the gate, in the parking lot. The laborers reported that 8 counters (4 pairs) were functioning. We tested two people and found that the average time it took to exit was 10 minutes.
04:38: Laura counted 37 people exiting the turnstile per minute, later on – 41.
04:50: Still, most passing through were adults. The pace was impressive. People seemed pleased and were smiling.
04:56: We went back to the separation wall. The flow is of young people. A group of some 20 youths climbed over and by-passed those on line. No one seemed to complain. One of them explained to Laura that they were late and had no alternative.
05:15: The line was advancing and we left, surprised and pleased.