Eyal Crossing, 'Anabta, Beit Iba, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 28.6.09, Morning
06:45 Eyal Passage
This is the first day on which the passage was handed over from military to civil administration. The area has changed. On the one hand the square in front of the passage is cleaner than before, but on the other, lattice fences have been put up, which direct the workers from the passage to an exit lane, and which make our and their approach towards the workers' queue from the Palestinian side of the CP , more difficult. We approached all the same, just in order to see that tens of workers were still waiting at that hour to enter Israel through the passage.
While were were checking the time it took to get from the middle of the queue to the exit at the Israeli side (25 minutes)the director of the new CP came towards us screaming loudly. The fact that we were observing the queue on the Palestinian side was proclaimed by him as forbidden and dangerous. He repeatedly called to us to go away from the queue "you risk a mortal risk for yourself standing next to the queue, you are forbidden to approach there! This area is out of bounds for you. I cannot protect you if you approach again". Our attempts to say that we arrive at the place for many years, and are used to approach the queue of those waiting for the passage, didn't convince him. We recognized a certain hysterical reaction of somebody who doesn't know, is not well versed in the matter, and may be frightened. The director, after the stage of threats and intimidation, returned to the terminal building, which we are forbidden to enter. In the past, about a year ago, we entered without any problems in order to check the number of manned stations.
After the director left the square, the man in charge of the shift arrived and explained that it was the first day of the maintenance of the passage, and matters are still being studied. The Palestinians too treated the delays with understanding and forgiveness . It seemed that they preferred, both from an ideological and practical point of view, this is not always clear, the meeting with civilians at the passage, to the meeting with the army.
Orna tried to understand whether there were limitations on the transport of food, similar to what we read in the reports at other passages. The man responsible for the shift said there was just one limitation which he was unable to spell out, and the Palestinians too don't know what it was, but would understand with time. A strange answer which it is worthwhile to try and understand the real reason for.
Until 07:15 most of the workers left in the cars of the contractors with whom they work, or in taxis to Rosh Ha'Ayin (Ras El Ayin, the taxi drivers announce) and Tel Aviv. Irtah, Antaba, Beit Ibba – nothing. Open passages. The Antaba CP is located nearer the junction owing to renovations, but there is no queue. The passages at two sides are open. We drove to Beit Ibba in order to see again that the passage was open.
09:30 Return to Israel at the Kalkilya passage.