'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Habla, Mon 27.2.12, Morning
06:30 'Azzun 'Atma
It’s cold, 10 degrees Celsius, not many people outside waiting; they’ve lit small fires around which they’re warming themselves.
The line appears shorter than usual at this hour, but perhaps they’re just standing very close together because when we are able to count them later there were about 70 people on line. Many of those coming out complain that, although the inspection itself seems to go quickly, there are only two inspection booths and from time to time things slow down, the revolving gate doesn’t open. We timed one man – it took him half an hour from the time he arrived. But earlier, when there were more people on line, it must have taken longer. And, if you consider that many people come from far away, like Nablus or even Bethlehem, it’s really terrible. Hours are wasted getting to and from work, on a minimum wage. When I think about having to wait an hour on line twice a day I feel sick; I’d go mad.
Slightly before 07:00 the MP put a table outside the building to open an additional inspection station, not computerized, which, of course, allowed people to go through more quickly, which was good. Too bad they didn’t do that at 05:00. There’s a danger of registration errors, and so what will happen when the person tries to return in the evening? They’ll say he didn’t leave in the morning? So how did he enter the previous evening? But that’s better than waiting longer on line.
07:00 The first schoolgirls come through, and now there’s a steady trickle of pupils crossing without any problem; the gates to the cars are opened for them.
07:25 – Habla. The gate is open. You could scream at how long it takes to get through. The pupils already crossed. A car going to Habla from the plant nursery takes five minutes to cross. At one point the crossing procedure is delayed for 12 minutes in the inspection building. People come out angry – they say they were detained because someone entered with a cigarette, and when the MP yelled at him to leave he didn’t understand ; she called him a donkey, but didn’t explain why. Finally he understood, put out the cigarette and people were allowed to cross, but only after the inspector intentionally worked slowly. If she’d bothered to make clear what the problem was instead of yelling at him to leave, everything would have been taken care of quickly. We telephoned the DCO, but didn’t stay to see what happened because we had to meet a detainee who’d give us documents for his lawyer.
A soldier asks whether we’re waiting to cross to Habla. They’re reservists; they don’t know we’re not allowed to cross in that direction. It would have been interesting to do so. At 08:00 there were still at least 30 people waiting to go to work who should have crossed long before.
08:05 Eliyahu gate. Some cars are being inspected; about 20 people waiting at the pedestrian entrance.
08:30 Falamya. Two tractors with spraying equipment cross toward the fields; one continues along the security road. An additional tractor from Jayyus arrives, because if they don’t cross when their gate opens briefly they’re forced to make a long detour via Falamya.