Eyal Crossing, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Tzofim CP.
Irtah/Sha'ar Efrayim, dawn shift; the routine has improved.
05:00 The gates are open, also the women’s gate as Mr. Kariv, the checkpoint manager, had promised us in our meeting on March 20: But that doesn’t alter the fact that men who realized it’s possible force their way in to enter through this gate along with the women. After the gate closes they start climbing through the hole above. As usual there’s great congestion. We keep our eye on someone from the moment he enters the area to see how long it takes him to exit to Israel.
05:10 We meet an old acquaintance on our way to the Israeli entry side; he’s already exited, tells us today everything’s flowing well, nine booths are open (again, as we were promised). And, in fact, people come through smiling today, and the women also tell us it’s good today.
The person we chose comes through in 13 minutes. It is a good day.
A man approaches us saying that even though he’d received a work permit with an attorney’s help after he’d been blacklisted, he’s detained each morning anew, his permit very carefully examined – which involves phone calls to various places. He asks whether we can help. We’ll try.
05:30We went to look again at the entry to the facility on the Palestinian side; the congestion is gone, people calmly go through the entry lane straight to the revolving gates, through to the courtyard and into the facility.
We left for Eyal crossing.
There was no longer congestion at the entrance when we arrived; the announcements over the loudspeaker were made politely, without shouting, explanations in Hebrew and in Arabic. People exiting say everything’s ok.
06:10 On the way Analin picked up a woman from Qalqilya who works in Tzofim. She says that because they’ve changed the clocks there aren’t many people; they don’t know about the change. She begins work at 07:00; thanks to the ride she arrived early. The settlement looks like any satellite community of single-family homes in Israel (and many sites under construction). According to Peace Now there’s much construction which hasn’t received permits. The high standard of living is obvious.
06:35 The gates are open, few people crossing. A man coming through says the gates are open for about two hours each morning; sometimes they close early if no one’s crossing. Today there are fewer people, perhaps because the clock had been changed. The plant nurseries are also still closed.
07:00 We left.