Eyal Crossing, Sun 28.3.10, Morning

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Ada H., Michal B. (reporting) (Chana S. translating)

From the evening, there will be closureinfo-icon until the end of Passover. 

4.00 The checkpoint opens. Within 3 minutes people begin to exit, smiling. They say everything is okay.  All the positions are open.

4.15 The exit carousel turns constantly.  One man, after passing us, turns and says in perfect Agnon Hebrew, that the state must not cease working for peace, and hurries past.

People ask us if there will be a closure tomorrow.  At this stage we do not know the answer.  A man told us that there are fewer than usual workers as some did not know if the closure was already in force.  He said that the previous week on Sunday, he waited over two hours to enter the checkpoint.  He works as a gardener in Rosh Haayin – eight hours a day for 140 shekels.  His employer transports him in both directions. 

Shimon, the manager, comes to greet us and chat.  We were suspicious of him in the first half hour.  Politically, we did not have much in common but had to admit that he tried to make the passage as easy as possible for the workers.  Quite a few workers stopped to shake hands with him.  From him we learn that from tonight there will be full closure.  According to him, soon a large covering will be built as shelter from rain and sun on the Israeli side, as there already is on the Palestinian side.  He stressed that 8 checking positions function regularly and that on average the crossing takes 20 minutes.  The carousels work non-stop until 7 in the evening.

He avows that at a quarter to 4 there are not long lines and only right before 4 a.m. lines begin to gather. He is prepared to let us come and see, only not to do it on our own. If we want to see the other side, we are invited to press the button to make contact with the office (he shows us where it is) and someone will come to accompany us.  We asked to see right away, and he immediately took us.  We saw people at the counters. 

    1. No line at the entrance.  Anyone coming exits within a few minutes.  He, too, says there are fewer people than usual owing to uncertainty about the closure.  Until now there have been some 2000 people and he expects another batch at 6.30. A worker approaches and asks his help in organising a bus service from the checkpoint.  Shimon says that Kamil, head of the management, is already dealing with the request (which, by the way, was presented through us half a year ago), in addition to other improvements ‘that we were told about a week ago’ (we didn’t know what he was talking about).  At any rate, he gave us the phone number of the office of Eyal checkpoint 09-7633838, in case of need.


My personal impression is that there is no justification for (inbuilt?) animosity on my (our?) part to those dealing with the Palestinians. At least in this man it was clear that it was important to him to act humanely with those around him. He answered the workers politely, patiently and with respect.  If only we could get the same impression from those operating Irtah!  [Translator’s note: I hope I have interpreted the last paragraph correctly.  CS.]