Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Eliyahu Crossing, Eyal Crossing, Habla, Mon 26.3.12, Morning
Eyal crossing, 109, Habla
06.10 Eyal crossing. Many workers, who have already crossed, and transits are waiting outside. We see an unending stream of people coming out. According to the workers we talk to, all those who pass at this hour are ‘Office[?} workers’, i.e., workers who have a permanent employer who pays the necessary taxes to the labour office and their permits are renewed every six months. They don’t have to miss a day’s work because the employer sees to this.
They complain that between 06.30 and 07.00 the checkpoint closes so as to distinguish between ‘workers’ and ‘merchants.’ This causes delay. At 06.20 the checkpoint closed but those already inside the enclosure continue to exit. At 06.45 they stopped except for a few. Those who came out said that behind the carousels there were 700-1000 Palestinians, mostly merchant-permit holders.
06.50 The last worker exited. He had entered at 05.45.
06.55 A lone woman exits.
07.00 Once again many workers started exiting. They say most of them have merchant permits. They complain that only 6 out of 20 stations are active even in rush hour. They also complain about the attitude of the director, also that often people are stuck for a long time while the checkers try to catch someone whom they accuse of trying to cut in. Sundays and Fridays are the worst: Sunday because there are many workers who have permits to sleep in Israel. On Friday they open late and there are fewer checkers. According to the Palestinians there are now ‘ushers’ among themselves who keep order in the line, easing the pressure.
One improvement they mention is that there is no registering when they return and so they can return via the most convenient crossing.
Merchants can cross until 10.00.
07.10 A steady stream of merchants comes out.
07.20 Eliyahu crossing. There are about 25 Palestinians still waiting to cross through into Israel. There are 6 cars in the checking booth.
07.24 Habla checkpoint. A military vehicle is parked at the entrance to the nurseries. Many workers have already passed through. A bus with children waits to pass. The vehicle crossing is closed and has to be opened each time for a car or cart. Pedestrians cross through the small gate. The military vehicle approaches and crosses to the security road.
07.28 There are only 3 Palestinians waiting to enter. The very polite reserve soldiers explain that the gate was already opened at 06.00 and will close at 08.15.