'Anabta, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 6.12.09, Afternoon

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Tal H., Susan L. (reporting)

16:00 Anabta
The bright and shiny new checkpoint is still  unmanned. Not a soldier in sight. Just a police car and the white DCO jeep are visible, both parked in the middle of the four-lane checkpoint, forcing traffic to swing around both.

On Route 57
At Shufa, on the north side of the road, there’s a new earth mound where a newly leveled dirt pathway had recently been made (by the villagers, we assume), and used for access to and from the apartheid road. We imagine people have to make their way up the steep dirt path a little to the west, as before, but nobody is around today to substantiate that point.

16:20 Irtah/Shaare Efraim
There must be about 150 people in line, waiting to go through the terminal building to go home after a day’s work in Israel. We can’t see inside the building, since one of the two yellow doors, beyond the turnstile, is closed, making it impossible to see how many booths are open. According to the Palestinians, just one.
We phone the DCO and are told that they will take care of the matter. Either that, or the guard in the window above spies us and makes things move speedily from now onwards.

16:30 -- ten minutes later, there’s not a person to be seen waiting to go home. Things change in the next minutes, however, as more vehicles disgorge workers in the parking lot. Now the turnstile turns so fast, that its non stop squeak is a delight to hear!

16:50 -- twenty minutes later, there’s again a line, again a phone call, this time to the Humanitarian Center since the Palestinians come in a never ending flow. From many, there’s a greeting, from some the frequent refrain of, “But you should come in the morning,” and from one, “There’s no solution to this problem, it’s the same in the morning,” and from above, the civilian security guard gazes at the people below, wanders from one window to the other, monarch of all he surveys.