Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim) - Complaints about prolonged standing in the mud without protection from rain
4:00 The parking lot is very crowded.
4:01 The first laborer is already through the checkpoint and heading for the parking lot.
Until 4:20 passage through the checkpoint is fast, no pressure. A woman we watched for got through in 8 minutes, men took 12 minutes. At the exit gates wooden pallets have been placed on the ground, evidently last week's heavy rain caused a deep puddle. The pallets aren't needed today, but they show thoughtfullness.
The turnstiles at the entrance to the checkpoint shut down briefly when the entry gets too crowded. We tried to check how long it took people at the back of the crowd to get through, but we failed - after half an hour of waiting at the exit, and not spotting anyone we were watching for, we gave up and returned to the entrance.
Several people complained about problems. First, pressure and quarrels at the entrance to the covered lines waiting to get into the checkpoint, especially on Sundays. The roofed area can hold a few hundred people, and on Sunday mornings about fifteen thousand pass through. When the pressure is greatest, around 5:00, some are left standing out in the rain and mud... The other problem is delays in the afternoon, on their tired way home. They asked why there are any limits on their free movement back into Palestinian territory.
People who entered the checkpoint at 5:10 got through in 12-15 minutes.
We left at 5:30