Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
4:50 Near the separation fence we look at the entrance to the compound. Men are standing at the women's gate, and the women are standing behind them, slightly apart, this is the new routine. A campfire is burning for warmth. The queue in the central path is long and crowded, but quiet. There is some unrest when the clock shows 5:00.
5:01 The gate is opened a minute late and the crowd storms toward the magnometer. As on every Friday, the women's gate does not open. This happens despite the fact that the person in charge of the shift, with whom we talked in the past, told us that there is no difference between Friday and the other days of the week. The young fellows among the men, who crowd this gate, climb up on the fence, crawl under the barbed wire that decorates it on the top and jump inside to the head of the queue. The older people look at them and move to the general queue. When the magnometer closes for a few minutes, and the turnstile does not, there is crowding in the open space.
5:15 We go over to the side of the entrance to Israel (at the exit from the CP). On the way we see dozens of people who have already left, crowding near the unofficial taxis, to get rides to where they are going. There is a steady flow of people leaving the CP. It seems that a large number of windows is manned today. Anneline counts at least six.
An old friend of ours emerges from the CP. He tells us (again) about the thick crowds and the lack of air, among the large number of people who get here at 2:00 a.m. to be first in the queue (while on Friday the gates open at 5:00 and not at 4:00 as on the other days of the week). Again there is the recurrent request to open the gates on Friday at least half an hour earlier.
5:20 A man who tries to enter again jams the exit turnstile. The story unfolds slowly: He has his friend's food box that somebody took by mistake. He identified it and received it from the person who made the mistake. His friend's documents are in the box as well as his cellular phone. The documents are outside and the man is inside. When he discovers that he cannot return, he hands over his friend's documents to a man who hasn't come out yet; that man gives them to a guard, who places them in a certain window. Now they are trying to find the friend by calling on acquaintances - he has no cellular phone. Matters become more complicated and Anneline approaches another person at the separation fence in an effort to find the owner of the documents and to pass on the request to let him know where his documents are. All''s well that ends well - the man was located, has managed to explain himself to the guards, was united with his documents and was able to leave. On the face of it, this was a 'small' problem which, if it had not been solved, would have become great trouble for the person involved. Without documents, how can he be found?
6:00 When we left, there was a tremendous crow in the compound. ...