'Anabta, Eyal, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Jubara (Kafriat), Tue 26.5.09, Afternoon
After a long discussion and a preaching about us ignoring our own safety, the new commander of the Figs Passage, agreed to open the gate to Juabra. According to him he had not heard of our existence, nor was he aware that anyone was visiting that checkpoint.
Our visit was short. The checkpoint was manned by nice reserve soldiers who offered us cold drinks and we offered ours to them. There were no detainees nor illegals and we returned safely to the passage.
There were no queues on either side. The improvement work of the checkpoint was visibly over and traffic was flowing with no inspections. Because of our bitter experience with the last checkpoint commander, who used to stop the traffic whenever we approached, this time we did not get near nor did we ask questions. The police were waiting for us as usual.
At this hour very few are going through, and despite there being only one operational check post the passage through is rapid. An Israeli from Um el Fahem is standing near us, waiting. He tells us of his Palestinian cousin from Tulkarm who is married to his aunt from Um el Fahem , and they have three children. He is allowed to enter Israel and live and work there but he decided to visit his parents in Tulkarm. Usually they let him go through at the "Figs' Passage with no problems, and today they allowed him to go through that passage but not to come back. He had to go to Eyal Passage and wait there until they were available to inspect him. The cousin has been waiting since 15:30. He left at 17:00.
17:15 A long queue gathers. Many enter the carousels but no one is coming out. The carousel stops. More and more people are crowding by it. The queue reaches the parking lot and still no one leaves.
17:25 We ring the DCO. They explain that the workers are inspected 'one by one". Why are they being inspected upon entering the Occupied Territories? Why don't we see them coming out "one by one"? It turns out that only one check post is operating (out of 18). Until we left the queue remained long. Women were added to it – female workers who had worked in the strawberry fields (they even tried to offer us some).
By the way, we asked them about wages. Female agricultural workers get 100 IS a day. Skilled workers, especially when it come to building work and conversions can get up to 350 IS a day.
18:15 Eyal Passage
We left Iratch and were replaced by the Makhsom members who had just arrived from Eyal. They told us that all was peaceful there. We were happy to discover that they were right. We even received compliments from some workers: "It's because you are here". They told us that the present state of affairs exists now for a few days and even in the mornings there is an improvement. .