Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

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Edith Maor and Varda Zur (reporting)

4:05 We arrived at Irtach, to find the parking lot almost empty. We parked and walked towards the fence to see if any Palestinians were waiting to cross. (We hadn't realized that the checkpoint would be closed for the holiday.) We came close and saw that no one was there, and decided to go on to Eyal crossing.

We set out. When we got near the main road, a military jeep roared up behind us. Its commander hailed us with a loudspeaker and ordered us to pull over and stop. It turned out that the same sergeant had a run-in two weeks earlier with Edith and Annelien. He didn't like treacherous types like us, and shouted that he told us two weeks ago that we couldn't take photographs and couldn't be present there, that he had checked out the MachsomWatch site and knew what we wrote, he would show us! He told us to hand over what we had photographed. He demanded to search the car. Everything he said was a shout, and one of the other soldiers joined him.

They ordered us to move away from the car and hand over what we photographed. We said we didn't photograph anything, but they didn't believe us.

They “checked;” they took everything out of the car pockets and left them on the seat, they checked the trunk and looked inside everything, they lifted the floor mats and didn't replace them, and the sergeant threatened to keep us there for hours. They checked our bags, and left the contents on the roof of the car. He checked the contents of my cell phone and photographed our ID cards. After a while they told us to open the car's hood - opened and closed. I was chilly, and got my jacket from the back seat (which one of the soldiers had already checked.) A few minutes after I put it on the sergeant told me to take it off. I asked why and he said he wanted to check the pockets, to see if I'm hiding any contraband. I said the soldier had already checked the jacket. He insisted. I took it off, and in protest took off my shirt too, and told him to check. The soldiers seemed embarrassed. This drove the sergeant mad, he phoned his commander and asked for someone to come and arrest us. Evidently the phone conversation calmed him down, after a few more complaints and delays he and the soldiers returned to the jeep and drove away, after warning us not to come there again, greeting us, shouting,'Gmar Hatima Tova’...

4:25. We left for Eyal Crossing finding the site deserted.