Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
Sunday is crowded and tense, as usual, was a bit more relaxed today. Despite the large number of people there was a certain calm and the normal tension was not evident. There was a TV crew with us preparing a program on the territories, and through their eyes we experienced the checkpoint as though for the first time. Again we learned that there is nothing like seeing for yourself. All the talk and the stories and the attempts to explain what exactly this phenomenon is, how it looks and sounds, don't make an impression until you are present at the place itself.
So (to the film crew), "In what way will your program make a difference? Bring busloads of people to see! Isn't that right?" And indeed we showed them the before and after, and the prayers and the transports and the coffee, the bonfires, the guards. We were not able to observe the inspections and the rooms and the magnetic cards etc which are within the checkpoint itself, and no one could demonstrate the standing in the crush and the tension. A few Palestinians came to remark that it was a relatively good day. In the entry line there were constant arrivals, but no delays and no shoving. They say that the building will be finished in a week! God willing.
A tour around the area included the village of Safrin and Beit Lid, which were still asleep at this hour. It included some blossoming almond trees, included thoughts about our strange desire to change reality. At the junction of the entrance to Qalqilya, before the Te'enim checkpoint, we listened to 3 young soldiers who were checking 3 young Palestinians standing at the corner of the road. They checked their bags thoroughly, checked their documents and asked questions. A minute after we were standing there they gathered themselves together and went off. The Palestinians, on the other hand, reported that they were caught as being illegally in Israel and had been taken back to the border by the police or border guard. Two more men who were with them were taken into police custody since this was the second or third time that they were caught and we don't know whether they will be released or taken into detention. All 3 of them were young men in their 20's and they will continue to cross the border to Israel in order to work. They have a good, fair employer and they have no better solution. They take into consideration the possibility that they will be caught over and over again.