Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Sun 7.4.13, Morning
03:55 We arrive before the gates open
Annaline notices new work on a sewer and a security fence. Solid structures intended to last a long time.
04:02 The gate opened on time, more or less. The women’s gate opened at the same time and closed at 04:09 after all the women on the separate line had entered. Women who arrived late had to join the regular line.
The ecumenicals reportthat there are again holes in the corridor fences, on both sides, at two places. We heard again, from one of the guards, the story of how they repair the fence and the Palestinians come with professional tools and make holes to go through. The new holes will be repaired soon…
On our way to the exit Israel guards approach us requesting we notify them when we arrive, before we go to the separation fence on the Palestinian side. That’s a new request. They say the army has the fence under observation to prevent it from being breached and it disturbs them when we move around the area…
At the exit gate, the flow of people exiting is interrupted from time to time. Occasionally the gate stops turning for about thirty seconds. When it’s open about thirty people per minute go through. And as expected when the corridor fences have been breached – people report an uproar on the line, say that two Palestinian Authority ambulances were called to collect persons who’d been trampled. One man tells us he fell down and would have been trampled to death had not his two friends pulled him free.
A man comes out, extremely upset, saying that one of the staff accused him of talking on a cell phone (is that forbidden?), and when he said he hadn’t – he was removed from the line and made to stand off to the side and threatened he’d be handcuffed if he didn’t behave properly (an example, says Annaline, of the saying in Proverbs 30:22, “when a servant shall reign…”). He told us he had to stand there 45 minutes until he was allowed to continue along his Via Dolorosa to the exit.
05:20 We left.
On her way home, Annaline stopped at the Eyal checkpoint and counted six Afikim company buses waiting to take Palestinians to various destinations (some minivans also). Why aren’t there similar buses at the Efrayim gate?
Regarding health insurance for Palestinian workers in Israel: they pay Bituach Leumi, which in Israel provides accident insurance and makes them eligible for health insurance in a Palestinian HMO. When the Palestinian Authority has no money – they can’t obtain medications, even though they’re insured…