Irtah (Sha’ar Ephraim), south of Tul Karm, workers on their way to Israel, 10.5.10, 3:55am, shortly before the gates are opened.
The terminal opens at 4am, so in order to get a good spot in the queue, some workers arrive here at 3am or even earlier, depending on where they live. I heard today of someone from Tubas in the Jordan Valley who has to go first through the Hamra checkpoint (you can read here about the mornings at Hamra). When 4am approaches, and the gates are about to be opened, the turnstiles become very crowded. When the turnstiles open and the bottleneck is released, the first in line run through them to the terminal. The sight of workers waiting in total darkness in the early morning hours is one of the most pitiful things I saw in the West Bank.
The Irtah terminal is less than an hour’s drive away from Tel Aviv. If you come in the afternoon, you will see the workers coming back from a day’s work.
Click here for a Hebrew version of this post.