Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
We arrive at 3.55 and as a small part of the metal fence is partly removed we can see some of the progress of the building of the new entrance. A group of concrete bases on which the pillars will be erected.
As the roof above the path that was leading towards the entrance is removed and there is no defined line, no one is able “to jump the queue” and there is no shouting or pushing.
At 4.00 the turnstiles open punctual on time. Every time groups of about 80 people can pass before the turnstiles close. There is no running towards the magnometer. Women stand at the side and a senior worker arranges for them to pass first.
4.15 we go to the exit side. The person we choose to check how much time it takes to pass the terminal exits after 7 min. A second one 13 min. As far as we can see it looks as if most of the checking-booths are open. The atmosphere is relaxed.
We take some pictures of the business-centre that is being build adjacent to the terminal.
5.00 Before we decide to go home we return to the entrance. From far we hear noise and see that an immense crowd is pushing towards the magnometer.
Edith climbs on the large electrical box to see if there is a similar crowd waiting outside, but it appears it is much quieter outside the turnstiles. Why close such a big crowd in such a small fenced –in area ?? This repeats itself with women shrieking and terrible pushing, so bad we see the magnometer shaking on its foundations. At that moment an army jeep arrives and a kippa-wearing-officer, with an even
more orthodox looking soldier, tells us aggressively we are not allowed to be there. After consulting on his phone he demands to see our identity cards and even my camera to remove the pictures I have taken. I refuse and neither do I want to go into the dicussions Edith has with the soldier who lets loose a torrent of abuse about “all those organizations – he mentions a few - that love the Palestinians more than the Jews”.
5.30 We return once more to the exit where more and more workers gather in the area around the terminal, some catching up on lost sleep. We leave at 5.45