Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
A lot of rain and fewer workers.
4:00 At the entrance to the facility. The gates opens as usual, on time. Evidently because of the rain, the guards allow more people in at a time, so that they can squeeze in under the roof that partially extends into the area in front of the building. No one tries to jump the line. No progress can be seen on the new construction on the Palestinian side of the turnstiles.
4:15 Dozens of people have already gotten through, and are crowded into the comparatively small roofed area. The speed of passage seems reasonable. When we ask the people about bus service, we are told that most of them have transportation supplied by their employers, both to work in the morning and back to the checkpoint in the afternoon. They don't take buses. One man requests help: is it possible to get him permission to cross at Bartaa instead of Irtach? He lives in Jenin, and it's a long and expensive trip for him to get to his assigned checkpoint. If anyone who reads this knows a way to help, I have his contact information.
The rain pours down. Many people who passed through security choose to stay in the building, because there is limited shelter beyond it. We think about the people waiting on the other side, where there is no shelter at all, in the downpour.
4:45 We return to the entrance side. There is no pressure, no line. The turnstiles are open and everyone who arrives goes immediately into the building. Because of the rain many people who are employed in agriculture or building didn't go to work.
We are told that last Sunday the pressure, crowding and line-jumping were so bad that they knocked down the cement blocks that are supposed to control the crowd.
5:00 We left