Eyal, Mon 8.6.09, Morning
The checkpoint opened on time at 4:00AM. We arrived at 4:08AM and some Palestinians had already been checked and had passed through the CP and were waiting for their rides in the parking lot. The waiting line went on for as far as we could see. The line was single file and people were moving through the one turnstile into the terminal.
In the time we were there, between 4:08AM and 6:50AM (2 hours and 27 minutes), about 2,158 people passed through the check point. When the entrance turnstile opened, about 43 people per minute passed through into the terminal. The turnstile operated between two and seven minutes at a time. There were intervals when the turnstile was closed. Those intervals were 5 to 17 minutes long.
While we were there no bottlenecks formed at the turnstile. The Palestinians were policing themselves so there would not be a panic and a mad rush to the entrance.
At about 5:45AM, when there was enough light that I could see the end of the line clearly, I saw that it was about 450 meters long with about 700 people on line.
When we left at 6:48 there still were about 250 people in the line and people were still arriving at the checkpoint.
The number of people leaving the terminal after being checked was 15 to 20 per minute on the average. We were told that there was an extra checking booth open which means 5 instead of 4.
Micky spoke several Palestinians, asking them what time they got up, how long it took them to get to work, how many checkpoints they passed on the way and so forth. Below are the answers to some of those questions:
1) A man from Nablus left his house at about 4:15AM. He got to the Beit Iba CP (no longer called Beit Iba ) at 4:30AM, he arrived at Eyal at 5:10AM and it took him an hour, until 6:10AM, to pass through the CP. At 6:50PM he was still waiting for his ride to work to Tel Aviv in the Eyal parking lot. He will have to come back to Eyal at 4:30PM and will be home in Nablus by about 7PM. He goes to bed at 9PM in order to start all over again the next day. He claims it is calmer in Nablus now that the Palestinian police have taken over. There is less crime and people are not as afraid. He feels it is important to have a strong police force. On the weekend he likes to spend time with his children in the park.
2) A man from the village of Deek passed through the checkpoint at the entrance to Qalqilyia and got through a random check of IDs by the Palestinian police before getting to Eyal.
3) A man from the village of Kreeot gets up at 3:00AM, leaves his village at 3:30AM, gets to Eyal at 4:10AM and today he has passed through the checkpoint at Eyal by 5:30AM. On the way he passes checkpoints at Zaatara, Qalqilyia, and sometimes a flying checkpoint at Kablan (today there wasn't one). He is back at Eyal by 3:30PM and it takes him about a half hour to pass through the terminal. He gets home at 5:45PM. He says that from 4:30PM –5:00PM it is very crowded at Zaatra and the line sometimes stretches all the way to Hawarra.
4) A man from Jenin left his house at 2:00AM. On his way to Eyal he passed through the checkpoint at Anabta (Anav).
5) A man from Jorish (near Nablus) got to Eyal at 3:15AM. On the way to Eyal he passed through the checkpoints at Zaatra, where there was a line, and Qalqilyia. He left the Eyal terminal at 4:45AM.
6) A man from the village of Talat talked of his return trip in the afternoon. He gets to Eyal at 4:00PM, it takes 15 minutes to pass through, and he is home by 5:00PM.
7) A man from Jayus leaves his village at 3:55AM, arrives at Eyal at 4:15AM and today he passed through the Eyal checkpoint by 5:00AM. He works 9 hours a day and makes 350 shekels. His transportation from Jayus to Eyal costs him 30 shekels round trip. Transportation from Eyal to his work in Kefar Saba costs him 25 shekels round trip. He returns toEyal at 4:00PM, passes through by 5:15PM, and gets home at 6:00PM.
8) A man from Tamon in the Jordan Valley leaves his house at 2:00AM. He finishes work at 4:30PM, must again pass through Eyal on his way back, and at 7:30PM he arrives home.
9) A man from the village of Deek gets up at 2:00AM and he leaves his house at 3:00AM. Today at 4:10 he arrived at Eyal after first passing through the Deer Baloot and Qalqilyia checkpoints. Today he wasn't checked at either of those checkpoints. By 5:00PM he passed through Eyal. He is an agricultural worker at Naave Yarok and works from 6:30AM—3:30PM. His pay is 160 shekels a day. Thirty shekels goes for his transportation from Deek to Eyal and 20 shekels for his transportation from Eyal to Naave Yarok. This means that after transportation he is left with 110 shekels a day (2,530 shekels a month). He supports his family on this meager salary and even supports two of his children studying at the university. He wasn't able to find work in construction but what he has is still better then working in the territories where he can only earn 50 shekels a day. In the summer there is the additional expense of 800 shekels for water. Once or week, or less, he eats meat. Flour for pitas costs 200 shekels a month. He can't afford to raise chickens or rabbits because the cost of feed and water is prohibitive.
10) A man from Nadeer Eesteah works 8 hours a day in construction and makes 200 shekels a day.