Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 29.7.09, Morning

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Michal B., Rachel A-T (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

4:20  As usual, a line whose end isn’t visible stretches between the fences, some people sitting and some standing.

4:32  An announcement over the loudspeaker, “Good morning,” in Hebrew.  The gatesinfo-icon open for a few seconds.  Men and women, intermingled, run and stand ready to go through the electronic gate one at a time.  Some place their bags or packages on the shelf at the side in order to go through, some remove shoes (apparently they already know that the shoes will make the alarm go off).  As they go through, people continually are called to in Hebrew – “Come here,” “What have you there?”, “What’s in your purse?”, “Leave the bag,” “Move back,” etc.  We can’t see from where we’re standing who’s talking, and we don’t know whether the Palestinians can see him and how they know who he’s referring to.  In any case, they go through efficiently, obediently and quietly.  The main thing is not to delay and miss their rides.
The turnstiles open for a few seconds and then close.  Sometimes they open for as “long” as twenty seconds, and then the area between the turnstiles and the electronic gate fills up.

4:48  The line thins out and people who arrive go through almost without stopping.

We went over to the exit gate.
The Palestinians complain that the fans aren’t working.  It’s very hot today, even at this hour, the coolest of the day.  The air is hot and heavy.
We went over to complain to the only security guard visible at the workers’ entrance.  He stands with drawn weapon, doesn’t look at us, as if we were invisible. Completely opaque.  After we try a few times he answers only “the fans are working.”  We repeat our complaint.  His hand moves to his pocket, as if intending to contact someone but we don’t know whether he’s able to do so and don’t hear him speak to anyone.  And once again, “The fans are working.”
We returned to the Palestinians who are still complaining that the fans in the waiting area for scanning packages aren’t working.  We returned to the guard and found an additional worker there, drinking coffee outside, and he, at least, talks to us.  He says that he himself turned the fans on, and they’re working.  When it was that he turned on the fans isn’t clear from what he tell us.

5:35  The Palestinians confirm that the fans are working.

A man approaches us.  He has a sick daughter, unconscious, in the hospital.  He has a referral to an examination at Schneider on August 5, but she has to be transported in an ambulance and he doesn’t know how to arrange it.
We gave him Mikki’s phone number.  Hopefully someone can help him.

5:51  The exit turnstiles closed.  They reopened four minutes later.  We don’t know what happened, but in the meantime 80-90 people gathered, waiting to go through.

6:15  We left.