Eyal Crossing, Sun 9.8.09, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
4:03 On our way to the checkpoint we run into a stream of smiling people coming through, saying hello and telling us that today is good, passage is quick, and wishing that it would be like this every day. We, of course, share their hopes. The longer we remain at the checkpoint, though, the look on the faces of the people going through changes, and becomes increasingly concerned and angry.
4:25 A steady stream of people at the turnstile.
4:40 People trickle out. One of the laborers tells us that the merchants are holding up the line. They’re supposed to arrive at 5:00, but come earlier; inspecting them, and then making them wait until 5 takes a long time. Later in our shift there were periods during which the flow of people coming through was greater, and others when few came out.
5:03 An elderly woman approaches us, tells us that she and two others went into the scanning room, and when she was inside she felt very bad – as if insects were crawling on her hands.
An elderly man points to a woman in the courtyard walking back toward the territories and says that he thinks she refused to go through the scanner and was turned back.
Others complain about the crowded little room, in which the inspection takes 20-30 minutes.
5:10 A man who identifies with the “authorities” explains that laborers were instructed not to bring in certain items, and that seems reasonable to him. Another, on the other hand, complains about confiscation of food and asks, regarding a friend of his who wasn’t allowed to bring oil, olives and a thermos, whether the items that were taken are held on site and can be collected when people come back from work. We promised to find out and inform him; we don’t have an answer yet.
5:15 Two people in the closed courtyard. Their inspection found something out of order and they’re waiting for the DCO to open at 8:30. To wait at least another 3 ¼ hours, in addition to the time they’ve waited and spent being inspected already, and, of course, to lose a day’s work – they talk about it calmly; it’s part of the routine of their lives.
A man approaches us, asks for our help regarding problems with his employer (he didn’t provide details). We referred him to Kav LaOved. Two groups of men praying: one near the exit from the turnstile, the other, larger, with a leader, at the edge of the parking lot.
5:30 People leaving report a very long line and unrest outside. We try to see the line; the monstrous facility is constructed in such a way that the line isn’t visible. A Palestinian tells us to drive toward Horshim, and from there, he says, the line is visible. We did so, but it was a pointless trip; there was no place from which the line was visible.
5:35 Abu Shadi, with whom we’ve been in contact since arriving at the checkpoint, tells us that the line is very long and isn’t moving. We called the DCO; they promised to look into it.
5:50 Abu Shadi calls again, upset, the line isn’t moving and there aren’t any people being inspected inside. We called the DCO again; we were told that a DCO representative is on site. Throughout our entire shift we didn’t see anyone from the DCO, nor anyone from the private company running the facility.
6:15 We called Abu Shadi; the line is still very long. We then called the DCO representative, who got angry at us for interfering in their work, but promised to call the checkpoint.
6:30 The crowding eased.
7:07 A man comes through the checkpoint, says it was good, luckily he wasn’t inspected.
A second, a merchant, says it took him an hour to go through.
An irate laborer comes through: Balagan; we’ve been waiting since 4:30. Another complains that he waited for two hours. A man walking quickly toward the parking lot yells to us that he waited 4 hours, but another takes issue with him and says that he hardly waited at all.
Abu Shadi tells us that 3800-4000 people went through today.
7:23 A man approaches us and says that on Thursday he and seven other people were in the little room for 1 ½ hours. And then another quarter hour in the closed courtyard. All eight of them were later let out.
7:30 The mass of laborers has gone through; now only a trickle exits. We leave.
Most of the complaints referred to the small, crowded inspection room and to the room with the scanner.
Many complained about the small room. People are crowded in there, for 10 minutes if they’re lucky, and usually, according to them, for 20-30 minutes. They don’t understand the purpose of the inspection and why they have to remain there so long, which makes being there even harder.
Many are worried about the scanner. How can they believe that Israel installed an inspection device which isn’t harmful to their health?