Eyal Crossing, Tue 21.7.09, Morning

Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email
Meki S., Nancy S. (guest), Merav A. (reporting); Translator: Charles K.

Dawn shift, 5:00 - 6:00 AM

We could already see from the parking area that today the checkpoint isn't operating as it should.  People are angry, annoyed, all of them complaining about the long lines in front of the checkpoint, about the inspections conducted inside, the delays and the terrible way they're treated.  The checkpoint was privatized only a week earlier.  People say there's no change, that even before the privatization the checkpoint was terrible, and it still is.  The only innovation is that there are now restrictions here also on the kind and amount of food that workers can bring through this checkpoint, while as long as it was operated by the army there weren't any restrictions.

People report that they arrived at the checkpoint in the middle of the night, that it didn't open on time, that it was very crowded and had very long lines, and that the inspections inside the checkpoint take between an hour and an hour and a half.

The workers say that once inside the checkpoint they're brought in groups of eight to ten into a small room, and the door is closed.  They're not allowed to sit during this time and they can be there between 40 minutes to an hour.

Like at the Irtach checkpoint, people here also complain on the scanning machine and its unknown effects.  They ask us to try and find out about it.

People coming through the checkpoint at 5:50 AM report they got on line between 4 and 4:30 AM, and entered the checkpoint itself around 5. 

The new fencing around the checkpoint makes it impossible to see what's happening on the other side, the line on the Palestinian side, but people report that the line in the early morning stretched far into town, and was very crowded and disorderly.

People are stretched out all over the parking area, some trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep before the long workday that still awaits them.

One of the workers tells us that he arrives from Jericho.  He gets up at 1:30 AM, and leaves home a little after 2 to get to the checkpoint on time.  He doesn't get home from work until 9 at night, and gets no more than three hours of sleep at night.

People also complain that the checkpoint closes at 7 PM, and if someone's late they can be stuck, or even lose their work permit.