Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

Varda Z., Edith M. (reporting)

Dawn. Calm.

4:02 The gatesinfo-icon opened before we got there. The crowd flowed without pressure. People smiled as they came out. Two men we watched for got out in 10-15 minutes.

4:22 The turnstiles closed for two minutes, opened for a minute, closed for a few minutes more. A crowd began to collect, waiting in line.

4:30 At the exit - two women we were watching for got through in four minutes, men took six-eight minutes.

4:45 There's no line waiting at all, people walk in as soon as they arrive. However, processing time within the checkpoint has lengthened, up to 18 minutes.

5:10 The gates closed. A man was sent back. When we asked he said he had a permit, but was told he's on a security blacklist; he doesn't know why. We didn't delay him to discuss it further, because it was clear that everyone else was waiting for him to go back through the turnstile.

People we watched for got through in 7 - 10 minutes.

A young man approached us, speaking English, and asked what we were doing there. When we explained he told us about himself. He has a degree in accounting, but if he were to work professionally in Palestine he would only earn 2000 shekels a month. He chose instead to be a laborer in Israel, where he earns 300 shekels a day.