Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Fri 12.10.12, Morning

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Leora Shamir, Varda Zur, Annelien Kisch (reporting)



Dawn shift  

5.10(!)We hear the loudspeaker:“boker tov” (Why start even later than 5.00?)   By now we know it is usual to hear a lot of noise and that a large crowd is waiting to pass the terminal.     The special gate for women is not open. Some men are looking for ways to jump the queue, but without success: it does not look like there are holes in the fence.  From where we are standing we cannot see and be sure though. We see more women this morning than usual.           A lot of pushing and shoving is going on in front of the magnometer.     One person comes back.  From behind the two fences that separate us he tells us that his employer did not renew his permit, probably because oneday he did not turn up for work.(!)  He cannot return through the-only-one-way-turning turnstiles, stands waiting and looks very unhappy.         There are no “Ecumenicals”  this morning so without their help we have to “mark” – in our memory – someone in a red shirt ; we mark the moment  he enters the terminal and “time” him the moment he exits on the other side.

5.25    Leora and Varda go to the exit-side, while I (Annelien) stay to see how long it will take until the unlucky laborer will be able to go back home.  The area between the magnometer and the turnstiles, where he is waiting, is absolutely filthy ; this is the responsibility of the terminal staff.      Although I am sure someone inside the terminal can see me and hear my calling, the turnstiles are not reversed to give the man the opportunity to return. Even not when, during at least 5 long minutes, all the entrances are closed for some unclear reason.  At last the man can get out: it took more than a quarter of an hour, but who cares: the time of the Palestinians does not count.

5.45   I  join Varda and Leora; only four checking booths are open. We count how many laborers exit per minute: 40. This is about half the number of workers we count on Sundays.   Some complain again about the muddle at the entrance and one shows his torn shirt and scratched arm.    It took the man in the red shirt about 15 min to pass the terminal.  

6.00    At last two more checking counters are opened.

At the Palestinian side there are still people waiting but they are probably the merchants who are only allowed to enter at 7.00   

At the parking lot, in conversation with several laborers we learn that the average wage in the construction-branch is around 250.shekel per day. If someone earns more this will seldom appear on his salary-slip, which means he will eventually receive less severance pay. An official work-permit costs 1400 shekel (!) per month. Who profits from the occupation ?!!