Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
04:40 We arrived at Irtah/Sha'ar Ephrayim and the place was already full of hundreds of workers who had passed the check and were waiting for transportation to take them to work throughout the Sharon area, Tel Aviv, etc., some eating breakfast and drinking coffee, some sleeping, head leaning on a stone, some talking with friends and acquaintances. When we later talked with a Palestinian at the yard, he defined the situation: this is like a market here...
At the side of the terminal there were many workers, but there was no pressure and the turnstiles were active almost without interruption and that was probably the reason that there was no pressure. From time to time when they are locked for a moment, their reopening is always accompanied with an excited running of the workers who fear another unexpected closure. The openings in the fence were apparently repaired and at the entry point of the young men who attempt to bypass the queue by climbing, has been closed by a great amount of barbed wire. We met the international volunteer women who stay at Jayyus.
On the side of the workers' exit we saw a continuous flow of people leaving. By peeping inside we saw that all – or most – of the checking portholes were active. We were also able to see the lanes above on which the soldiers were marching back and forth, arms ready and directed downwards above the heads of the workers. Nothing happened, but the sight was disgraceful.
We talked with a few workers who were waiting for their employers and at the same time I checked the lavatories: for those leaving the terminal there was a row of 3 shuttoilets. At the yard we see another row of 4 mobile toilets. I check: the doors are sealed by soldiering (!) "Quasi toilets"…..
The parking lot is already full of vehicles and drivers "recruit" passengers to fill them up. There are also busses on the road near the CP, waiting for visitors to the prisons and in the meantime they are not allowed to continue so that they block part of the entry-exit which is narrow as it is.
06:30 We passed through Eyal on the winding road in the direction of Qalqiliya and drove in the direction of Habla gate. The soldiers are already there and so are the Palestinians, but the soldiers don't rush and the gate is opened 7 minutes late. The five-five routine is stopped when a young Palestinian is detained and a lively discussion takes place with the military policeman.
An elderly man from the five coming out of the checking passes the gate and stops near a Palestinian woman who is waiting (she must have passed before) and she hands him an ID card. The man returns and hands the ID card to the soldiers. We investigate and according to him there was a confusion when the cards were returned from checking (we have already see such things at former instances). A long time passes and the young Palestinian doesn't come out. A soldier who checked for us what was happening explains to us that this is a young man with a forged ID card who is now detained until the police comes to pick him up…..impossible to know what the real story is.
The schoolchildren's busses do not arrive. Perhaps the school year is already finished.
We hold a long and interesting conversation with A., a veteran soldier of the Kfir division, who is (positively) exceptional in his readiness to listen. According to him in his detachment there is an atmosphere of consideration for the Palestinians and a certain understanding for their difficulties.
We left at 07.50.