Eyal Crossing, Mon 17.8.09, Morning
They complain about detention in "rooms".
They are afraid of the radiation in the x-ray machine and of the stuff they spread on the the ID cards.
There are restrictions on the food for their day's work - bottles of water with ice, sugar and tinned tuna are not permitted.
The drivers waiting in the parking lot said that the workers have been waiting at a distance until they could come into the instalation. As far as I know they get a permit from the army to enter the instalation after a patrol check the fence of the system. Therefore the delay is the fault of the army.
We went around the instaltion (to the left) in order to see the people arriving from Qalqiliya. Since it was dark and we stood in an unlit area we could observe for about 30 minutes, until a military vehicle arrived to chase us away under the claim that his was a restricted military zone. Since we had seen enough we did not argue.
Along the building, there is a fenced and covered corridor, several dozens meters long, which eventually turns in an L shape toward the gate in the fence,. Beyond it for a long distance, we could not see the end of it, a long queue of men, hundreds of them, standing depressingly quietly. Occasionally they move a step forward, each carrying a small bag or a container of food, until they disappear in a large block of people into the entrance. There are carousels: one immediately behind the the gate in the fence, where there is a small building and in it the workmen operating the carousel. The second is next to the entrance gate, right opposite where we were standing.
Today there were no union representatives and no one was distributing notes.
From afar we see three people being sent back from the carousel towards Qalqiliya.
05:15 A military vehicle arrives to chase us away.
At the exit from the instalation - a turnstile is open the whole time and a constant stream of people exit from it. Between 05:28-05:50 people left in 4 minutes.
Outside the instalationthere are two lines of people praying. When they finish others arrive - each one until he finishes his prayer.
A woker tells us that he had arrived at 04:00. Now it is 05:30. He stood an hour in the queue until he entered the instalation and another half an hour inside.
A woman complains that she and 30 others have been detained in "rooms", i.e a small congested room, for half an hour.
From our conversations with several people - today their average waiting time from arrival until exit is one and a half hour. Yesterday was worse. Someone tells us that his number in the queue was 2450 and he left the place at 07:00, that means an average of a little more than 800 people an hour. On Sunday there are 3000 workers. Today too the rhythm of inspection is slow. That is in addition to the 20 minutes delay in opening of the instalation - a significant time for those in a hurry to get to work.
05:40 100 people left in five minutes.
06:10 50 people left in 2 minutes.
At this rhythm 1200 were inspected in one hour.
Another complaint - standing in the queue for an hour and a half is very tiring, and that is before they even started working. Why cannot they install benches for sitting along the queueing area. Also at the car park, where dozens of people wait sitting on the road or by the roadside.
There are restrictions on importing food - one is not allowed to bring in water bottles with ice, sugar or tins.
There is a claim that the inspections by the civilian company are too many, and take too long (the "Rooms"). They fear the radiation from the x-ray machines. Also - "What is the stuff they put on ID cards, is it dangerous?
The main complaint is the length of time it takes to enter the instalation and inside it.
A worker working in Tel Aviv lost a day's work because the contractor left without waiting for him at 06:30.
Going back and forth this is not a small chunk of a daily wage of 200 shekels or less. Still it seems to me that the public bus would not be cheaper.