Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

Observers: 
Edith Maor, Varda Zur (reporting)
Aug-24-2014
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Morning

4:10 We arrived late, the first workers had already gotten through. We approached the separation barrier and discovered that a high, solid metal fence had been put up, with barbed wire on top, the entire length of the wire fence between Israeli territory and Area C. We couldn't see the line of people waiting beyond the revolving gatesinfo-icon, we couldn't speak to anyone, we couldn't see young men climbing on the roof to jump to the start of the line. We didn't hear roars of complaint as we have on previous occasions. However, since the new fence cut us off from any human contact with the people in line, we didn't stay there long, and can't know if they shouted protests later.

The entrance to through the revolving gates is still in pulses. They fill up the outer yard and stop, until the yard empties and they open the gates again.

4:20 We move around to the side where workers exit the facility into Israel. A solid fence blocks off part of what used to be the available space. The lavatories have been moved. The area is densely crowded. Above the top of the fence a building site can be seen, significant progress in setting up a planned commercial center, which is the reason the workers' space was cut down.

The workers come out of the facility at an impressive rate. A crowd gathers at the single revolving exit gate. A guard announces that he's opening a gate next to the revolving one, but when the workers try it it doesn't budge.

In a phone conversation with the manager of the checkpoint, he says the reason for the new fence between Israel and Area C is that they've begun building the new entry facility that we saw in plans months ago. Work is progressing simultaneously on the commercial center and the new entry facility, which will have a separate line for women.

4:40 We leave for the Eyal checkpoint.

When we arrive at Eyyal, we see there are buses for workers to various locations. At Irtach there are only rides supplied by employers, and gypsy cabs. 

Large crowds are already outside. In open air someone is leading a mass prayer session. We asked and were told that this is a daily occurrence, not anything special.

 5:15. We left