Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Te'enim Crossing, Tue 25.8.09, Afternoon
Translation: Bracha B.A.
A day during Ramadan
Workers are coming back at the end of along day’s work after a night made shorter by waiting in line at the checkpoint. They are fasting, it is not, but they still smile at us and greet us and are grateful that we are here.
16:00 Irtah Crossing
A contractor’s car is unloading workers and they hurry towards the turnstile to leave the checkpoint. Many of them greet us with “Asalamu Aleikum”, “Shalom” and nod, and we greet them with “Ramadan Kareem.” Occasionally the turnstile stops for a minute while the shift changes, but the line is not held up. Everyone is outside within a few minutes. The security guard is more polite than usual, and offers us cold water if we want it, and when we ask how things are today he answers that “Today we are trying not to hassle them too much.” (What is his idea of the normal circumstances?) After a half hour we continue westward.
Cars enter and exit without delay. Cars also enter with yellow (Israeli) license plates. “Israeli Arabs are permitted to enter Tulkarem throughout the week. The checkpoint is open 24 hours a day,” says a the taxi driver who is waiting for Israelis to come to the checkpoint. He will take them into Tulkarem. We buy dates that were picked in Ramin.
The military police commander A. asks us for our I.D. cards and checks that they are not forged. “Where do you live? Where are you going? How old are you?”“Read my I.D. It says what year I was born.” When we began to laugh at having to reveal our age, he ordered us to pull over to the side. He leaned on the car window with an air of authority to make things clear. “I’m the commander here and I decide what questions to ask. I’m…in charge…in principle…my job…yesterday we found an AK-47 rifle here…”Before we got involved in his militant outburst we asked to have our I.D. cards back.
18:00 Eyal Crossing
The parking lot is empty and no one is there. Several transport vehicles are waiting for the next day. We meet drivers from Rahat, who feel that fewer people are coming out because of |Ramadan. A few workers return and pass through quickly. Perhaps here they have decided not to bother Palestinians too much today as well.