Eyal Crossing, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Ras 'Atiya, Mon 6.9.10, Afternoon
16:00 Eyal Passage
We pass the turnstile and position ourselves opposite the entrance to the building. Shay, the shift director, pounces at us and asks us to leave the military zone. Riva explains that she has never been asked to leave. He summons the Passages director Shimon Levi who is prepared to talk to us only beyond the turnstile. Riva explains that as member of a human rights organisation , the interface between the Palestinians who pass the CP and the Israeli office holders is important to us. After we leave Shimon tells us in a calmer voice that about 4000 people pass the CP every morning at utmost speed, that they continually make all efforts to improve the conditions, that they have added devices such as a shed, toilets, cold water facilities and more. Riva contacts Wohl, the passage officer at the DCO to find out which observation post we are entitled to. Only after we leave he returns her call. He suggest we contact the passage administration.
We turn in the direction of Tzofin. On the way to Kilkilya and Sha'ar Eliyahu. At the entrance to Kilkilya there are no obstructions on entering and leaving the town.
16:30 The Eliyahu Passage
The passage is free and the traffic flows.
16:40 We move onto the Alfey Menashe Road in order to observe the road and the system fences which confine Ras Atiya and Ras Atira and guard the Alfey Menashe settlers, who are returning to their homes at this hour, from any harm. As usual the passage is tightly closed and the sight still is a shocking one.
The gate is shut. There are less than 10 people waiting. We visit the plant nursery and return.
17:00 The gate is open but there is no passage because they wait for the military- policewoman. The soldier at the gate tells us that the vehicle that is supposed to bring her has had some failure (had we known it we would have offered her a hike from Sha'ar Eliyahu…and thus contributed to the war effort). About 10 Palestinian are waiting in the shade behind the yellow shed which has been put up at second thought…with it open side directed to the West, while the sun is beating down.
17:07 There still is no passage. A Palestinian tells us that the delays are a routine. He asks how it is that in the whole Israeli Defence Force there isn't another car available to transport her…Riva calls the DCO. They say they'll investigate the matter at the battalion. In the meantime about 30 people have gathered, all are gathered behind the shed in search of shade, and the shed itself is empty.
The head of the Council of Ras Atiya who is waiting tells us that he and his family have lands, but his son doesn't get a passage permit and he cannot work the fields. On the other hand, his other son, who is a doctor at Beit Lehem, did received the permit… He says he has talked to Micky Fisher and also that a lawyer had tried to deal with the matter without success. Does anybody have an idea???
17:20 The sergeant takes a decision to check the papers manually and to write their numbers down. He askes us for paper to do that!!! I gladly volunteer paper and compliment him on his resourcefulness. If one has goodwill one is able to facilitate the process and indeed the passage back to the village begins but very slowly. The Palestinians pass quietly and in order. In the meantime two vehicle owners and a driver of a donkey cart get the permission to leave HaBLA but have to deposit their papers with a soldier. Riva calls the DCO and reports on what has happened.
17:35 A military vehicle arrives and a military policewoman jumps out of it. She struggles with the checking post key and enters.
17:45 The checking post is still closed and the registration is done manually. Most of the people have passed and we leave, hurrying to a meeting at Nina's.