'Azzun, 'Izbet alTabib, Burin (Yitzhar), Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
Irtah CP, and tour of the area
05:00 Irtah CP: As the parking lot is being repaired, all the transit vehicles fill up the road and the surrounding area: it is difficult to find decent parking. The "eckerstein" paving blocks in heaps are evidence of future plans to pave the area. There is great commotion with many workmen around.
A refreshing novelty alongside the entrance is: the pleasant calm voice of a man kindly welcoming the incoming persons: "For your own sake, line up one by one, no need to put down your bag; and what do you have in your bag?" Here and there some words in student's Arabic are inserted. Actually, this changed the general mood. Even the movement of the turnstile was more reasonable - as idiotic as this may seem. Despite the logic, many many workmen were crowding in as usual. There was no sign of the continuation of the pavement of an exterior lane.
In general, we heard that the quota was extended and that there were 8000 more construction laborers crossing through into Israel. Have additional booths been opened to accommodate the growing needs?
06:00: Standing at the CP's exit, we witnessed a sudden halt - a turnstile was closed off. The workmen within huddled up. Doors were closed off for 20 full minutes. After the the doors had opened up and the passing-through had been resumed, no one could tell us what the cause of the disturbance had been. We left at 06:30,
taking road 557 eastward towards 57-60 to Burin. We congratulated Munir on the birth of his second daughter. The air is fresh and the view is clear towards expanding Yizhar and Beracha up on the hills.
A military jeep is parked overlooking the road at Havat Gil'ad, on our way to 'Azzun and again the main gate is closed with a group of soldiers standing at the entrance. The gate at 'Izbet Tabib is open.