Eyal, Sun 14.6.09, Morning
We arrived at 4:00AM, just as the checkpoint opened. During the two and a half hours that we were counting the number of people entering the checkpoint about 3,112 people passed through. When we left there were still over 400 in the line and people continued to arrive. We heard from the Internationals who were on the side of the Palestinians that by 7:20AM when there was no longer a line, 4,447 had passed through Eyal.
There were 6 checking booths opened in the terminal instead of the usual 4. About 23 people left the terminal per minute. In the past when only 4 booths were open we usually counted that an average of 14 to 18 passed through a minute.
This morning by the side of the entrance to the terminal, the line was single file from the yellow gate to the turnstile. At the yellow gate Palestinians were controlling the number that could pass through. This prevented a rush for the entrance during the entire time we were there.
The line stretched way beyond the yellow gate for another 150 meters. The line behind the yellow gate was more crowded and was not single file so that there may have been about 700 to a 1000 people on line at 4 AM. And more people were lining up all the time. This meant that despite the fact that 200 or 300 people were being let in at a time, there was no dent in the line until about 5:40AM. At 6 AM the end was in sight but there were still hundreds on line and people were still arriving.
The concept of waiting at the end of a 1000-person line at such an early hour, or at any hour, when a long day of work lays ahead is beyond what the mind can absorb.
In the first 10 minutes that the checkpoint was opened 458 passed through the turnstile at the entrance to the terminal. After this initial 10 minutes the turnstile closed for 16 minutes.
The rest of time the turnstile would open for an average of 6 minutes and close for an average of 6 minutes. The longest it was either open or closed was 10 minutes and the shortest was 3. About 40 to 42 people would enter the turnstile per minute when it was open.
Cosmetic changes continue to be made at the checkpoint as the private company gets ready to take it over some time toward the end of the month. Today we noticed that the large cement road blocks marking the entrance to the "Military Zone" had been painted white.
Micky spoke to some of the Palestinians as they left the terminal. Following is some of the information that she gathered: 1) A man from Jericho leaves his house at 1AM and at 2:30AM he arrives at Eyal. Today he passed through the Eyal checkpoint by 4:10AM. He returns to Eyal at 4:00PM. During the week he rents a place in Qalkilyia so he doesn't have to get up so early every day.
2) A man from Tamun (Jordan Valley) leaves his home at 2 AM and at 3 AM he is at the Eyal CP. Today he passed through Eyal by 4:18 AM. He starts work at 6AM and returns to Eyal by 3PM. He earns 300 shekels a day. Seventy shekels is spent on transportation with in Israel and 40 shekels in Palestine. By 7 PM he is back home.
3) A man from Azun leaves his home at 3AM, and gets to Eyal by 3:30 AM. On the way to Eyal today he was not checked at the Qalqilyia CP or by the Palestinian Authority. By 4:35AM he had passed through the Eyal terminal. He works in Ramat HaSharon in construction and makes 200 shekels a day. He spends 50 shekels a day on transportation.
4) A man from Uraff (near Nablus) leaves his home at 3AM. There was no CP on the way so he was at Eyal by 3:30AM. He passed through the terminal by 4:50AM. He works in Petah Tikva from 6AM to 4PM. At 5PM he is back at Eyal and is home by 6:30PM. He makes 250 shekels a day of which 65 to 70 shekels is spent on transportation.
5) A man from Tultt makes 150 shekels a day for nine and a half hours of work. The contractor gives 650 shekels to the middle man for 2 workers – for a general worker and a professional form maker. The middle man takes 340 shekels for himself and gives the form maker 190 and the general worker (the man from Tultt) 150. This man earns 2,500 shekels a month.
6) Micky asked one man why he doesn't plant vegetables or raise chickens in his yard, he said that there is no land left since it is all built up.