Eyal Crossing, Thu 6.8.09, Morning

Observers: 
Nura R., Michal B. (reporting) Translator: Louise L.
06/08/2009
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Morning


4.30  We arrive at the checkpoint. People tell us that it opened at 4.15. A group of 20 workers is praying – utter silence, one voice is praying, singing while the group is answering.

A worker reports that the checking took 10 minutes.  Bringing cooked food is not allowed. Another worker tells us that a 2 liter bottle of water was taken from him.

4.50  People start complaining about the long delays in the rooms. A worker tells us that he was detained on Sunday so he missed his transportation and lost a full work day!

Nura counts 150 people passing in 5 minutes.

5.00  The turnstile is locked for half a minute, nobody knows why. It happens again a few more times, and since it locks without warning the turnstile bumps into people who have no time to move away.  

People ask us to promote the opening of an Egged bus line from Eyal to Sharon/Tel Aviv. For Egged it should be worthwhile, since thousands of workers need transportation at certain hours, and on the other hand, the workers would not have to pay such enormously high prices. For example, they have to pay 30 NIS (one direction) to get to Kafar Kassem, meaning that they spend half of their day's earnings on transportation.  

During our shift the picture is mixed: On the one hand people pass the checking quickly and smoothly, while on the other hand many people report long delays in the rooms. Sometimes there are only small numbers of people at the exit, but then all of a sudden it becomes quite full again. We hear the female security guards shouting at people ordering them to enter the rooms. We are told that 15-20 people, men and women, young and old, have to crowd in a room sized 1.5 meter. There are no windows and the air is heavy. The I.D. cards are collected, and the whole group might be detained for an hour and a half. When they get out their employer, in his turn, shouts at them for being late and he tells them to get up even earlier in the morning.  

We enter the checkpoint trying to see what the rooms look like. A woman is coming out into the corridor. Crying from pain and unable to speak she is holding her stomach. After some time her mother joins her. She explains that they had to stand in a crowded room together with 14 men. Her daughter has had an operation in her stomach and she must not be standing for such a long time. In the meantime Shimon, who is in charge of the checkpoint, approaches us. He is shouting and telling us off for having trespassed into forbidden territory. The crying woman tries to turn to him, but ignoring her he keeps on yelling at us threatening to call the police. Instead of dealing with what is going on at the checkpoint and making sure that no abuse is taking place, that people are treated with respect, he goes on shouting at us, and, of course, when we leave he disappears and still there is nobody for the woman to turn to. 

Because of problems with their handprints 4 people have to wait in the area on the other side of the fence for the District Coordination Office representative who is expected to arrive at 9.00. Of course, one more work day is being wasted. And what will happen tomorrow? Who knows? More humiliation? Another delay? At what time will they have to get up in the morning? What is in store for them? 

6.45  We leave.