Eyal Crossing, Sun 14.11.10, Morning
We arrived at 04:00, heard the loud speaker announcing the start of the day, and the first people came out of the terminal at 04:02. The first people out had come to the checkpoint at midnight and 01:00 in order to avoid the waiting in the terminal that happens once it fills up. Those who came out at 04:15 were those who had arrived at 03:00. During the hour we were there 1540 people passed through. Since the internationals were not on the Palestinian side reporting to us, we had no idea how long the line was at 04:00 and how many were still on line after 05:00.
There were complaints of the long wait outside and in the terminal, the day in and day out humiliation of removing their belts, showing their fingerprints, having their things examined, and so on despite their precious permits. One man told us that he had been forbidden to bring back an old fan he had gotten from his boss on his return trip to the territories.
Our guest came to film the Palestinians praying at 04:45. It is always a very poignant scene--the leader reciting the prayer as the congregation stands, bends, bows, kneels, and says an occasional "amen" all in unity. It is still dark out, the strong industrial lights of the terminal light the area, a constant line of people leaving the terminal behind a wire fence can be seen in the distance. The majority of the Palestinians who have already left the terminal join the service.
It was interesting to hear the guest's reaction since it is his first time at a boarder checkpoint. He felt a deep compassion and identification with the men who were willing to endure the hardship day after day of waking up in the middle of night, waiting on line for at least an hour and a half, waiting to catch a ride to get to work, and doing hard labor all day in order to provide for their families. He felt it had the ancient power of all man kind in his fight for survival .
On our way back to Tel Aviv we stopped at a gas station near Mega in Kefar Saba. Micky still had her Machsomwatch tag on and the clerk behind the counter noticed it. He was a young Israeli Arab. He asked what it meant that we were against the check points. He was shocked and so touched to meet Israeli Jews that felt that Arabs also had a right to live in this land. He said he meets Jews all the time who tell him he doesn't belong here. He said the most hurtful is when young Russians who have been here for only a few years tell him it isn't his land.