Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

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Leora Shamir, Annelien Kisch (reporting)

                                                                                          .  05.00   The turnstiles are opened

The area near there is filthy: from far we can hear the sound of tins that are being left there laying around.  There is a lot of noise from the waiting crowd on the Palestinian side and we can see what the problem is: some workers are climbing over the fence - there where the “women’s- gate” is - and so trying to jump the queue.

A large group of male workers has gathered near the “women’s- gate” and we cannot see if it was opened for the first 5 minutes for the few women that we see entering with the first group of workers.. 

While we are observing the on-goings, we are being joined by two men. One of them, Elad, introduces himself in a complaisant way as the Terminal manager. He tells us that indeed the “women’s- gate” was opened as usual. Because of that there are so many man now waiting there as they hoped to enter ahead of the regular queue.


Elad tells us that hopefully in a few months the approach from the Palestinians side (area C) of the Terminal will be rebuild and the general situation will be much better. When we answer that this was “promised” more than two years ago, he claims the bureaucracy and funding is the bottleneck but that the plans are ready for execution.


In the meantime Leora asks one of the laborers why he thinks is easier to wriggle through the narrow space over the fence where he gets caught in the barbed wire instead of joining the regular queue which is not too long on Fridays. His reasoning does not really make sense and in the end he apparently agrees with Leora and indeed joins the queue.


5.25   We go to the exit side.  There are at least 8 or even more lanes open and the checking seems to be done efficiently.  In spite of that a few workers are waiting for their friends who only exit the Terminal after more than 3/4 hour. Apparently some workers, chosen at random, are being extra-checked.


We ask a few people if indeed someone died in the Palestinian-side-queue at the beginning of the month as we read in a Palestinian newsletter. One English speaking lady confirms this and says it happened because of the pressure –mental and physical- that reigns there.

We leave at about 6.30 am