Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 2.9.09, Morning
As much as we advance into the Irtah CP, we observe more and more 'small' details. Also, the leakage of the military proceedings against an occupied population, to the outside of the checking stations. The pizza delivery poster has been removed.
03:50 – women sit grouped together near the turnstiles, whose continuation is the path that leads to the checking facility. In the dark we notice people who are already waiting for the activation of the CP. The path that leads to the site is relatively empty and people arrive bit by bit. When the darkness dispersed we saw that 'chairs' on which the women were sitting while they were waiting for the opening of the CP – cans of pickles.
Through the fences, the grilles and the wires we can see, in the yellow light that floods the path , the well-known banner which is known to us from other places in the West Bank, other CPs: the painting of the multi -coloured flower, resembling an anemone, and the caption 'the hope of us all'. The Arabic letters are enormous, those in Hebrew and English are smaller.
04:47 – The onrush towards the CP has begun and more and more men (mainly) arrive. Muhamad, one of the coffee vending brothers says that the prayer in the mosque has ended.
04:28 – An announcement over the loudspeaker: ' All the inspectors, all the inspectors to their posts".
The barrier doesn't operate yet, and we talked in our very faulty Arabic and with many gesticulations with Muhamad and his brother Baha.
Their family is from the refugee camps Nur Shams near Tul Karem and the origins of the family are from Haifa. They are 1948 refugees. When he was 14 years old Muhamad was shot by soldiers in his thigh. His friend was shot in the forehead and was killed. He stopped learning in the ninth grade (if I understood well). Now he sells coffee at the CP. He and his brother help supporting the family, in which there are 4 sons and 4 daughters. We talked about "the hope of us all". "There is no hope" says Muhamad. A 17 year old boy without hope but with a smile.
04:32 – People begin running from behind the turnstiles and on the path, to pass through themagnometer and to enter the roofed are.
We went to the exit area which is filling up with vehicles.
We wanted to park as usual in the parking lot that was entirely empty but for 3 cars (and which can contain tens of cars) but the security guard comes up to us and says that we cannot park there because this parking lot belongs to the people working at the CP. This is a 'private area' and they will come soon. Naturally we told him that these were not the facts, that the lot was empty. This didn't interest him and we saw no point in arguing with him. On the contrary.The privileges which we might have had as Israeli Jewesses are of no interest here. It's enough to observe the crowdedness and the havoc of the parking lot for the cars which transport the workers from the CP, whose drivers are mostly Israeli Palestinians, because they are not permitted to park their cars in the lot reserved for the CP workers, which remains mostly empty during all of our stay at the CP.
04:38 – people begin leaving and it seems that there are 4-5 active wickets. The people leave in an unending stream and many are holding bags, pouches or even a picnic box.
Until we left the CP we passed from one side to the other.
04:48 – a man whose left hand is plastered leaves the installation. He obviously is not a white collar worker but a blue collar one. He cannot permit himself to lose a working day, so today he will work with one hand.
04:50 – a woman forgot bread at the wicket (no.3). She asks for help to retrieve it. Nomi goes with her to the guards at the parking lot, and the woman is allowed to enter the installation and to find her bread.
From time to time the turnstile are stopped for a very short time (2-3 minutes).
05:20 – people continue coming to the CP but there it is not crowded and the path is empty.
Peeping through the grille of the exit point we saw security guards patrolling, over the heads of the people (imagine a closed construction which is latticed above by metal beams that are seemingly supporting a hanging floor).
We notice something else: a signpost hanging on the wall, under which people pray before they leave the installation. On the signpost there is a text in three languages. In Hebrew: exit to the parking lots, a pleasant and safe stay. In English: Exit to vehicle parks, have a safe and enjoyable stay. Regrettably we don't read Arabic.
05:52 – We left. The workers parking lot is almost entirely empty.
06:10 – We arrived at Eyal.
Upon the entrance road, on the right side, a bright,colourful and floral signpost announcing the building of a new cottages neighbourhood at Zofim. Its name is "Pisgat Rimonim". The signpost asks people to get in touch and receive details about purchase.
People are leaving the CP all the time and according to the timing which we performed at two points we found that the rate of exiting people is 34 per minute. Thos who arrived before are waiting all over the parking lot. Some are using the time to complement lost sleeping hours (pictures 1,2). The pillows under their heads are fragments of curbstones (picture no. 3).
06:30 – We left
Near the "tomb of Benjamin" there is a long carqueue. Indeed, there is a police barrier next to which there are 3 detained cars. Their car plates are yellow and their passengers Palestinians.