Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
The Sunday routine
03:57 From far away we hear the gates opening, and the roar of the crowd. This usually indicates intruders climbing over the barbed wire to get to the head of the line. By the fence: indeed, many line-jumpers have found ways over the barbed wire. The cans and cardboard, that the early arrivals sat on while waiting by the entrance, block the turnstiles. It takes time to push them into the intake area and permit smooth entrance. Some progress has been made on the new facility since Tuesday when we were here last. We hope the rate of building will continue to be good, and the new facility will open soon. An extra tin fence now blocks off view of the the back part of the building site, but the line-jumpers still come through on their way to the barbed wire.
04:07 On our way around to the exit, we see dozens of workers who have already passed through the checkpoint. Some smile and wish us a good day. The flow of traffic is smooth and heavy.
04:20 Back at the entrance, there is still a lot of crowding, a lot of people climbing over the barbed wire. The loudspeaker speaks politely to the crowd, and threatens to call the army to deal with the line-jumpers, but everyone knows it won't do any good. They aren't deterred. The rate of intake is fast and regular. We pick an individual to time.
04:35 We're back at the exit. The man we're timing comes out eighteen minutes after he went in, relatively slow. There is a big crowd at the one exit turnstile, the gate next to it is opened to relieve the pressure. One man says, our life is the pits. I ask if he had trouble in the checkpoint and he says no, it was okay today. Another man requests help getting compensation for an injury suffered at the checkpoint. I refer him to the Center for the Defence of the Individual - maybe they can help.
04:55 By the fence again. Three young men are waiting to go back. One says his permit expired yesterday. Another doesn't want to say, but his companion suggests that he also doesn't have a permit. There is still a crowd at the turnstiles, still line-jumpers.
05:30 On our way around the building we notice there has been no progress on paving the parking lot. The traffic jam on the road is severe. Groups of people wait at spots along the road - maybe employees of different workplaces making it easier on "their" drivers, or maybe the drivers refuse to get into the mess.