Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Mon 11.5.09, Morning
04:15 Today I reached Irtach
(near Tulkarm) with a photographer who is not a member of Machsom Watch.
Yesterday we took a lot of pictures too and soon we shall send these
pictures to the Machsom Watch website.
Thousands were waiting quietly
for the opening of the carousels. They recognized us and greeted us:
"Good morning" "It's good that you are here" "When
you are here the queue moves faster.
The carousels open up. Each
time 50 people go through. There were six cases of people being sent
back. One of these is Mas'oud, a grey haired 40 years old man. He was
refused entrance because he brought a small melon in his food bag. Instead
of X-raying the melon they simply
sent him away.
The second case was of 4 women
from Tulkarm who work in the strawberry fields of Ra'anana. They were
stopped because their handprints did not match their previous ones.
They called their contractor who promised to deal with it the next day
but today they were sent home and lost their day's earnings.
The last case was a guy of
35, who was refused entrance because had had a small disposable razor
and a nail cutter. Both items went through the metal detectors but were
apprehended by the personal inspectors.
Why cannot these items and
the melon be left at the installation and the people let through? They
had got up at 02:00, waited hours in the queue and finally lost a day's
work because the inspectors will not want to store away the confiscated
One must distribute a page
to each of the inspected, detailing everything that constitutes "a
threat to the security of Israel", such as olives, melons, sugar,
cold water, nail cutters etc.
Today by 06:04 most of those
in the queue had gone through into Israel. There was no pushing, shouting,
fainting or injuries. Many commented that it was due to our presence.
They asked us to come every day including Friday. Many of those
who had gone through told us that every exposure to the media improves
the conditions of the inspection. They asked us to invite foreign TV
photographers, and especially from Al Jazeera to show the world the
state they are in. Many said they preferred to work in the West Bank
but since there was not enough work there they had no choice but to
cross over into Israel.
Only a few dozens of workers
remained waiting but the rhythm of opening of the carousels has slowed
down. They were opened only once every 6 minutes instead of 2. Many
of those in waiting told us of their troubles and asked for our advice.
A 34 years old guy named Assad Muhamed Ahmad Ibn Alla, from Kafr Atil
near Tulkarm told us that his brother had a magnetic card that lets
him into Israel but the Special Security Forces were refusing him entry
without explaining why. He asked us to find out why.
Several inspection machines
use radiation to screen the inspected. They are screened on their way
back as well. They are worried about the potential carcinogenic effect
of the radiation since they are exposed twice a day. At times children
also go through the installation on their way to visit prisoners in
The three visits we made to
the installation reduced considerably the suffering of those inspected
there. They told us themselves that this was the case. Therefore it
is important to organize permanent Machsom Watch shifts at 04:00 am
at every installation..