Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

Edith M., Hadas C. and Ronny P.
4.00 am
We arrived at Irtach early  so that the many mini trucks which transport people to work were not there yet and the parking lot was almost empty and dark.
For me, it is the first  shift after many mornings over the last number of years at Qalandiya. Amazing how the system works and how efficiently organized: the Israeli economy- the building industry , the agriculture, the industry and businesses just cannot function without Palestinian labour and so all is done to make it possible. The workers arrive at 2-3-4 am at the checkpoint to make sure they get through in time to meet the transportation at 5.30-6.00. People who come out of the checkpoint look tired and many light yet another cigarette because the stress of passing through the checkpoint control is over.
We spoke to some people who wanted or needed to let us know what troubles them.
A friendly  man who is a housepainter and works for a big firm  of maintenance services all over the greater Tel Aviv area. He loves  his work, he likes to talk and shares with us that he likes the Israeli  and believes that life in two separate states could work out so well. He is angry at the incitement that leads some young people to attack, stab and want to kill Israelis..
On the other hand the other man was full of anger at his employer. He said that he and his coworkers get pay for 15 days a month although they work 25 days. We gave him the phone number of the workers hotline  and their  Palestinian administrator. We also distribute  cards of the Palestinian  human rights hotline.
There was another man who holds a permit to work as agricultural worker in Israel but his permit to work his land was denied. He had repeatedly tried to renew it but did not succeed.We took his personal details and later gave them to one of our members who specializes in agricultural permits. The issue of permits is a huge field because there are so many  categories- business permits, trader permits, hospital permits, religious needs permits etc. I sent a text message to our man with the phone number of our friend.
We left after we saw that this is a "good" day and that it takes between 8-15 minutes to go through the checkpoint control