Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
Irtah/Sha'ar Efrayim. Dawn (Normal pressure and chaos)
05:01 - the gate is opened one minute late, and the crowd protests loudly.
In spite of the promise made yesterday by the checkpoint chief (report to be posted on the website soon), the women’s gate does not open As on every Friday. The men are already waiting in a long line and climb into the queue underneath the barbed wire placed on the entrance ceiling. Same entry beats: gates close and open according to the crowd at the entrance. Women entered as a tightknit group. We wondered whether the women’s gate was opened. On our way to the side where they exit from Israel, we learned that it wasn’t.
05:14 – we chose a person to check the pace of movement at the checkpoint, and crossed over to the side where the Palestinians enter Israel. The person we monitored exited at 05:26, namely spending 12 minutes inside the structure.
We paced the exit – 26 persons a minute. Slow. There were days when over 50 people came out in one minute. People are angry as they come out. Many complain about the pace and the waiting lines inside. Passers claimed that of 16 windows, only three were opened at 5:00. After a while a fourth window was opened. A woman whom we know said that there had been difficulties at this checkpoint all week, not just today.
5:40 – since we were told by the managers that there was no need to open the checkpoint before 5 on Tuesday, and that by 6:00 there was no more pressure, we came again to the side of the fence overlooking the entrance to the checkpoint. Indeed, there was hardly any pressure by this time, hardly a line near the gates. Every person who arrived got in. True, these people coming now would no longer make it to the shuttles that the employers offer the workers for free and that leave the place at 5:45. But there are still dozens of free lance drivers waiting for passengers.
6:00 We left.