Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
We came back as we promised ourselves, to check out the complaints we'd received about Sunday mornings. As reported, every Sunday is a war. The crowding was terrible.
The checkpoint opened on time at 4:00. From the start, we noticed a number of young men climbing over the roof to get to the front of the line. Quite early we saw a group of men gathered in front of the turnstiles. It turned out that one man was hit in the head by a metal bar that fell from above, evidently knocked down by someone climbing there. It took about half an hour before the checkpoint employees got organized to transfer the injured man to the Red Crescent ambulance that came to take him for treatment in the Palestinian Authority.
The main problem seems to be that the people who need to make the crossing all want to do so as early as possible, fearing delays. In addition, we were told that ten lanes were open inside the checkpoint building, out of a possible sixteen. On Sundays, at least, it seems important to open more lanes.
All the time we were there, until 5:30, the crowding and pressure didn't lessen significantly.
Crossing the border is never easy, but on this Sunday the crowding and line-jumping seemed intolerable.