Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
No line and the workers are walking or waiting for
their employers. Buses are waiting for the visits to the prisoners.
There seem to be no special problems.
At Anabta there is also no line
and the traffic flows in both directions.
Hardly any cars, those from Natanya that usually transport the
workers have not arrived and many of the latter are looking for
transport. One of the men turns to us because he has to bring a child
to a doctor in Israel. He has a permit to enter Irtach but the child
is not allowed in.
The "lost" key to the gate has been "found."
Hardly any movement and it is not clear why this checkpoint is still kept up.
Empty and there is a change of shift.
07:15 – Eyal Passage is deserted. Because of the "closure" there is no traffic at all. [A closure is a blanket restriction of passage regardless of permits]/
07:20 – Soldiers open the rear gate. Humanitarian cases get permission to pass.
07:30 – We ask the checkpoint commander to open the gate, but he says it is impossible to enter before 08:00 because of the military activity in this place.
We come back at 08:10 and again ask to pass. A settler who stands in the line of cars that leave Israel comes and tears the Machsom Watch sign from our vehicle. He cries to the soldier not to let us pass because we are disloyal trouble makers.
08:10 – Two young men are waiting at the Schoolchildren's Gate. They have no permits to get in and work their plots of land.
The traffic is free in all directions. There are no traffic restrictions. We haven't succeeded in finding out why we were stopped at the entrance and what kind of activity was going on there.
08:20 – The traffic is streaming in all directions. For the first time in quite a while there are no strict checks and long lines at Anabta.
No line on the Palestianian side and many workers are on foot
or travelling with their employees, waiting to be picked up and it seem
there are no particular problems.
Jubara. Gate 753 and the checkpoint of Ar-ras.
The gate to Jubara is
locked but the soldier opens it for us. At Ar-Ras the traffic is moving.
No special problems, the line is short and the movement in both directions streams past.
The last of the workers come out in a thin stream and many cars
wait for them. At Ar-Ras the gate to Jubara is locked and a soldier
arrives to open it for us. At A-Ras there are no lines and little
traffic. On our way back we stop at the Children's gate where about 40
workers with permits wait to enter Jubara. The workers say they have
been waiting since 5am and the soldiers say they arrived at 6.30. There
are only two soldiers. One checks IDs and permits and the other guards
him. A note is made of the numbers and the table is a cement block on
which the pages flutter about. At the same time he checks cars coming
out, carts and answers the phone. When we spoke about the tardiness of
the checking the soldier said he did not care and that they could wait
for him. Later the two soldiers changed and the one checked those
entering. During the 45 minutes minutes we were there things speeded up
a bit. We left feeling sorry both for the soldiers and for the workers.
06:45-07:00 - A long time since our last visit, and nothing has changed. Workers are still coming out of the facility complaining about the long wait and the extra random check at what is called "the rooms".
09:15-09:30 (back from Beit Iba) - Again, like last week, no vehicles queuing up. A soldier manning the checkpoint notifies us that taking photographs "is forbidden". We put him right, though Noga always consents not to photograph the faces of soldiers.
09:45-10:30 - The saga of the closed gate goes on. The key is there, but the checkpoint commander is unfamiliar with the permission granted to us to enter the village. We call Tammi, and eventually the gate is opened for us. The village is deserted as usual, and down in Ar-Ras hardly any vehicles pass.
Few people from Tulkarm. Much movement of workers and women with children who pass quickly. We were told that there were no problems. At Jubara there was no line and the soldiers said that they did not have the key of the gate so we did not go to Ar-Ras as we thought to do this on our way back. At Anabta were many pedestrians from Tulkarm. The checking was very pedantic of all cars because of specific alerts which had caused traffic jams and enormous delays. The pedestrians many of the students preferred to go through the checkpoint on foot and take another taxi. No line of cars in the direction of Tulkarm We went on to Beit Iba.
On our way back from Beit Iba we phoned Tammie to ask for the key to the gate. While we were waiting for a reply a policeman stopped us and asked for our papers, the triangle, a reserve tire and out reflecting jacket. We did not get a reply but afterwards heard that the key had not been found. We left at 8.20
came to this checkpoint in order to get the signature of a man blackballed by
the GSS/Police and to find out the reason for the prevention. We waited for
about thirty minutes in which many workers passed without any delays.
movement here is also quick, although one worker told us that he had been
waiting at the checkpoint since 4:30 and passed only a half an hour ago and
"how can you get a job at this hour?". We haven’t seen anybody on
Tulakarm's side of the checkpoint. The busses driving prisoners' families were
waiting at the parking lot and few women were seen getting out of the checking
was no line. Cars were stopped and passed quickly. We were permitted to pass immediately.
a line of five vehicles coming from Tulkarm direction. A truck that had tried
to bypass the line was moved back to the end of the line. The soldiers are friendly
familiar people passing the checkpoint.
a line of four cars coming from south, some of them belonging to Israeli Arabs.
The soldiers stop the drivers and talk to them but don’t always check IDs. The line
coming from north is extremely long and we couldn't see its end. While returning
from Beit Iba at 9:30, we saw a very long line blocking the way at the
intersection with road 557. We didn’t stop to find out the reason for this
because we were in a hurry.
7:00 Eyal checkpoint
We reached Eyal in order to get a man, who had been refused entry by the police or the Military Intelligence, to sign a power of attorney so we can find out the reason for this refusal. We waited for about half an hour and during that time many workmen went through the checkpoint without any delays.
Here too the passage is fast, although one workman claimed that he had been there since 4:30 and tha the went through only half an hour ago, (“How can you get work at this hour?”). We saw no one on the Tulkarm side. In the parking lot buses await prisoners’ visits and several women are seen leaving the installation.
There was no queue. Car are stopped but go through rapidly. We immediately got a permit to pass through.
There is a queue of five vehicles from the Tulkarm dirction. A lorry which had tried to overtake was sent back to the end of the queue. The soldiers are friendly towards recognized passers by.
From south there is a queue of 4 cars, among them Israeli Arabs too. The soldiers stop and talk the drivers but don’t always check the certificates. From north a very long queue the end of which could not be seen. When we returned from Beit Iba at 9:30 we saw a very long queue which blocked the passage in the junction with Route 557. We were in a hurry and did not stop to check the situation.
7.00 Eyal passage.
More than 100 people in the line and there is great activity with the workers who just got through and the contractors waiting to pick them up. When we try to see how many are in the line an army jeep rushes up to us with the usual claim that we are not allowed to approach to the fence. (Is this legal? Do we have to go when they tell us to?)
Naomi complains about the delay and that the work is not carried out properly, that the posts are not manned. When we ask why there is still a line which should have ended at this hour the DCO captain says that he is not responsible for what happens at the checkpoint and passed on the complaint to his friends at the passage itself. They remind us about the soldiers who were killed two days ago, hikers from Kiryat Arba and that is why they are carrying out a careful inspection and maybe to hint that our complaint about their efficiency is detached from reality.
When we go back to the area next to the passage people tell us that at some stage the computer packed up and therefore there has been a delay.
Irtah crossing. Empty. Everyone has gone through. It opened at 4.00. No delays. The attack at Halhul has not caused any special orders. The prisoners' bus is about to leave.
7.50 The childrens' gate next to the checkpoint of Ar-Ras. The picture that we see is that the gate is empty and that one man with his packages of clothes is kneeling on the ground tearing the nylon so as to show his clothes one by one while the soldiers stand over him with drawn rifles. We stop the car and watch without saying a word. To our surprise one of the soldiers comes up to us and explains in detail what they are doing. An illegal workers returning to his land and his home. They can do nothing against him but to harass him a little and then he will be sent home. Naomi wants to give whole nylon bags to the soldier so that the man will be able to put his clothes back in them after the checking. The soldier takes them and gives them to the man.
8.00 Checkpoint Ar-Ras. Open and no limitations and no special orders.
8.30 Anabta open and no limitations.