Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
4.45 - not many cars yet on the parking lot.
4.50 - a crowd was impatiently waiting in front of the turnstiles, but why open on time (4.45)? About 50 workers are allowed in before the turnstiles are locked again. This makes sense as this prevents the crowding inside the Terminal. This seems to be happening anyway though, as, when we move to the exit side of the Terminal, people are complaining about the pushing and shoving inside.
“Only two pathways and four “windows” (as the Palestinians call the checking-booths) are manned and open” someone answers when we ask him about the situation inside. As far as we can see from our observation-point at the exit into the Terminal we indeed see only 4 checking-booths open.
The first workers exit after about five minutes, but later on it takes two persons we “marked”, half an hour to pass the whole track through the Terminal, from beginning at the first magnometer until the last exit-turnstile after the checking-booth.
A Palestinian lady wants to return home and has been waiting for over half an hour near the turnstile at the exit at the Israeli side; we try to draw the attention of one of the guards inside. When he is willing to approach us and we tell him “this lady would like to go home” he answers with contempt “I too want to go home” and disappears without
taking any action. Another (extra) half hour later this lady is still waiting! Cannot there be a simpler way to let someone return home, say, via a “backdoor”??!
There are less people because of Ramadan. The area right in front of The Terminal is much less crowded. This is the “workers-market”, where, especially on Friday-morning, Israelis look for “freelance-workers”- The kiosk is almost empty and partly foreclosed with dark plastic sheeting, almost like during Pesach with the difference that during that periode the Palestinians have no choice but live according to “Jewish laws”. Taking their religious coworkers into consideration most workers avoid smoking openly. Many are taking a day off either to enjoy a free day (in Israel!) or to travel to Jerusalem to pray. A full bus leaves probably for Jerusalem and there are very few transit-cars on the parking-lot.
A Palestinian from Tulkarm, we talked to several times before, tells us that one lady who “confessed” she plans to go to Jerusalem to pray was sent back and has to wait until
7.00 as only from that time on women can enter without a permit into Israel –proper and she probably has no working-permit. Also here: who cares about waiting, and losing time if it only concerns Palestinian time?!