Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Mon 26.9.11, Morning
The first five laborers enter. There’s no scanner today, unlike last week.
About 50 laborers wait to cross. A car is carefully inspected. The truck from the plant nursery arrives from Habla loaded with saplings and is superficially checked. A tractor also goes through; the MP gives the driver a quick once-over. At the same time, the laborers continue to be checked without interruption relatively quickly in the inspection building.
07:15 The children’s buses arrive, the drivers wait for their documents to be inspected and soldiers check inside the bus.
About 30 laborers crossed during half an hour, and cars went through at the same time.
07:32 We leave.
There is a blue police car at the entrance to the Bedouin “village.”
We park in the large parking lot next to some Palestinian taxis waiting for laborers. The drivers say that laborers with entry permits go through this checkpoint every day, some to the Alfei Menashe industrial zone and others to the plant nurseries and farms. Today the laborers who arrived at 04:00 still haven’t come through, and it’s 07:45. They say the manager of the checkpoint knows they cross every day but don’t let them through until his supervisors arrive. The first ones come out at about 07:50.
The taxi drivers complain that it takes them an hour to get through in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
We go over to observe at the new checkpoint; the people running it ask us to move and not stand where we can see the checkpoint. They say we’re interfering with them and it’s an area that belongs “to the Defence Ministry,” so we’re not permitted to be there. We refuse to move.
There’s a special lane for cars with Israeli license plates which seem to belong to Palestinians. The passengers have to get out and are very thoroughly inspected, by a dog as well.
We observe a family with two children carrying schoolbags who are waiting outside the car. A dog checks a car; the vehicle inspections are very thorough, including noting the vehicle numbers.
Dan, who’s in charge of security at the checkpoint, says that procedures have changed and all the laborers must go through the Eyal crossing, which is why the laborers weren’t allowed through until their employers arrived from Alfei Menashe, and then they were permitted to cross. Starting tomorrow (that is, today – Sept. 27), every laborer, without exception, will have to cross at Eyal, according to a new order from the GCO.
Sha’ul, the checkpoint commander, arrived, and he also asked us to move. He said the new orders state we’re not allowed to stand at the checkpoint, the area belongs to the Defence Ministry, which is responsible for it, so we’re not allowed to stand there and he has the authority to order us not to stand at the checkpoint.
Sha’ul also tells us that the new orders permit people to cross only through Eyal.
When we tell him the bus drivers told us the buses were made to wait half an hour, and ask why, he says they were detained less than five minutes.
A horse and cart arriving from the direction of Qalqilya took about 20 minutes to get through the checkpoint; a car checked by a dog took about half an hour – it had an Israeli license plate.
08:40 – We leave, drive toward the entrance to Qalqilya. A school bus from the Shomron Development Corp. enters the Border Police base next to Qalqilya and picks up soldiers.
08:45 – People cross freely through the Qalqilya checkpoint, including vehicles with Israeli license plates.
09:00 We drive to Jayyus via 'Azzun. Everything’s quiet; we see many Palestinian flags flying along the roads.
We drive back toward Checkpoint 109; all along the way we see more military and police vehicles than usual. We go through the checkpoint in the lane for Israelis, proudly flying the MachsomWatch flags. The security guard wishes us farewell and we cross without being inspected.