Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
On arrival we saw that the parking lot had new lines and arrows painted on it. Most of the vans for transporting workers were lined up neatly, totally ignoring the new markings.
The big trash dumpster has moved from the parking lot to behind the toilets.
On our way to the security barrier we found a new gate, locked, blocking the way to our usual lookout spot.
A guard told us not to proceed until he went down to the fence and locked another gate across the army access road. We had to stand ten or twenty meters from where the Palestinians enter the checkpoint. It is no longer possible for us to call to the people passing back and forth, to ask them what's happening. It looks like they are creating a situation like at Eyal, where there is no possibility for contact across the security barrier, and we can only see the people who have been permitted to come into Israel.
The gates opened a few minutes late, but all the time we were there we saw no pressure. People walked into the checkpoint freely as soon as they arrived, and got through in five to ten minutes. One man told us he was pleased (mabsoot).
A large crowd got backed up on the narrow path leading out to the parking lot, and the guard on duty there unlocked the vehicle gate to relieve the pressure. When we left, at 5:00, the vehicle gate was still open.