Eyal, Tue 21.4.09, Morning
04.35 When we got to the checkpoint the passage was open. The Palestinians coming out said that it had opened on time at 4am. They complained that yesterday had been terrible. "Where were you, there was war here, gas." And some of those coming out said that today was OK. They said that yesterday the checkpoint had been opened an hour and half late at 5.15 and 3 tear gas canisters had been thrown. A soldier is dozing in the booth. 3 checking posts are open. The people put their papers up against the window. We go round the building at the side of the fence to the line of those waiting. Men scold us that we were not there the previous day. If we were they said the soldiers would not have thrown tear gas.
4.55 Two soldiers appear and send us away from the fence saying that we must not stand in the "passage zone." That is the road, in army language. When we asked what happened yesterday they replied," They caused a disturbance and got gassed." They say there was no delay yesterday and that the Palestinians had created a disturbance and the only way to bring back order was with tear gas. Moriah taped them and we will sent the tape separately.
The Palestinians stand in an unending line, apparently as a result of fear of what had happened yesterday. No women in the line. We saw some when we arrived and it seemed they went through first. We see no international activists at all.
5.01 A jeep arrives and the soldiers ask who we are and why we are there and send us two metres back. It seems that the main thing is to move us from place to place, as stupid as that may be.
When the turnstile opens, people pass through the x-ray and put their packages and parcels aside. Now and again the x-ray squeaks but no one checks and the turnstile continues moving. People kept passing through. And the x-ray squeaks from time to time. There is something deterrent about this. The Palestinians act as if the x-ray is manned and as if someone is checking the parcels they put at the side. But there are no soldiers present in the area and no one pays attention to the squeaking. A pantomime at the checkpoint.
15.15 We went to the exit of the checking area. People coming out greet us and 5 people pray on the cold cement.
Two people want to go through the turnstile to the checking area, that is from Israel to the Occupied Territories, but the turnstile does not change its direction. Their cries to the soldiers do not help, neither do the pleas and the requests. We also call the soldier but it does not help. Maybe he does not hear. The woman soldier at the nearby post also does not want to hear. After some minutes they manage to get in. We also do so. We do not know if it is permitted but we try our luck. It seems that 4 checking posts are open. Inside the checkpoint is a sign wishing people a pleasant stay. Is this just stupidity or intended wickedness?
5.25 Within two minutes soldiers arrive and without a word gesture to us to get out. Moriah is angered at this and asks what the problem is. We are told that we are forbidden to be in the checkpoint and we go back to the fence and to the long, long line.
5.35 The turnstile at the entrance is jammed with hundreds of people. They pass the turnstile, the x-ray and then another turnstile. As the intervals increase and the time that the turnstile is open decreases more people pass and there is overcrowding between the two turnstiles. It seems that this is intended to slow down the entrance.
6.01 People go from line to line and the overcrowding increases.
6.03 A soldier shouts at us through the loudspeaker to stop filming and says that he will "give it to us" if we do not stop filming. Shouts at us "Come here, come here," and that he will not allow people through until we stop, even though we have already done so. Moriah shouts back to the furthest booth that he has no authority over us and not to give us orders. Through the loudspeaker he continues shouting using filthy language full of threats. In the meantime the turnstile is closed and the Palestinians cannot pass. We phone the centre at Qalqiliya and after a few moments the turnstiles open again. Many people send regards to Micky.
6.30 Only now does the DCO representative arrives. Until now there has been no representative. He says he was slightly delayed but that there is always a DCO present.
4.41 - 4.46 54 people passed through. 5.01 – 5.08 the turnstile stops. 5.08 – 5.11 107 people go through the entrance. 5.15 – 5.20 76 people go through the exit. 5.35 – 5.40 204 people at a run at the entrance. 5.40 – 5.46 The turnstile stops.5.46 – 5.48 119 people pass in two minutes at the entrance. 5.48 – 5.58 the turnstile stops. 5.58 – 6.01 150 people pass at the entrance. 6.01 – 6.08 the turnstile stops. 6.08 – 6.11 131 people go through the entrance. 6.11 – 6.18 a break. 6.18 – 6.24 People go through and we are tired of counting but the line has shrunk considerable and we see the end.
6.24 a break.