Eliyahu Crossing, Falamya, Habla, Jayyus
Eliyahu Gate, Jayyus north, Habla
During the last few months there has been increasing pressure before the closing of the checkpoint at Habla (the opening time in the morning is 06:30-07:45). We were witness to rather long lines of people and of vehicles, and sometimes shouting during arguments among the people standing in line for a long time. Various people complained to us that the hours are not convenient and that the soldiers sometimes close the gate a few minutes before schedule and then people, who arrived on time, are forced to lose a day's work. We wish to note that every time we were present there, the gates closed exactly on time.
06:15 Eliyahu Gate
There are 20-30 pedestrians and 14 vehicles; some are being inspected and some are waiting in line outside the inspection area.
06:25 Jayyus northern gate
The gate is open but there were no people there - at 06:30 it closed. We were told that they opened it last Sunday (4.01.14), after it had been closed for 3 weeks. First of all as punishment because they had burned tires next to the gate and afterward because the lock was broken and it was difficult to fix.
06:45 Falamya gate
There are tractors going through with passengers and equipment. A wagon arrives from Jayyus - the driver didn't wake up in time and missed the checkpoint at Jayyus; now it takes him an hour instead of 5 minutes to get to his orchard. A tractor arrives with a cart; equipment for green houses and also passengers. The passengers get off and have to go through the pedestrian inspection; after about 10 minutes (5 passengers) they continue on their way. Inspection is very slow, a lot slower than at the Habla checkpoint. It took the driver of the wagon from Jayyus a lot of time to pass through and after the inspection he opens the gate, brings the wagon through, closes it again and goes on his way, after doing the soldiers' work for them.
07:25 Eliyahu gate
About 20 pedestrians and 13 vehicles are waiting for inspection.
07:30 Habla checkpoint
There are 25-30 people in line. The gate closes at 07:45 and there is always a lot of pressure before closing time. There is a lot of noise and pushing in the line and new people are arriving continuously. People are also coming from the other direction: night guards from the nurseries go through quickly on their way back to Habla. Now the vans are going through and wagons with people who work in the nurseries. Recently, it seems as though all the vehicles come at once at the last possible minute, there is a lot of movement there. This time, there is a soldier who inspects bags of those exiting after their documents have been inspected in the booth. The soldier takes out objects from the backpack of one of the men: 2 sweatshirts, pants, belt, change of underclothes, and it is all on the floor. The man says "I am taking the belongings of a lot of my friends." After a discussion, when he is not allowed to go through, he returns to where he came from and doesn't go out.
The inspections now, toward the closing time of the checkpoint, are in groups of 6 people (usually there are groups of five), to speed up and get everyone out before closing.
More people are still arriving.
Still 10 people in line. The soldiers let everyone in to the station before the gate and then lock it and rush everyone through. There were a few who arrived a minute after, but the gate was closed and no one can go through. One man with a dog was having a long discussion with the soldiers closing the gate, and he returned to Habla. A car that arrived from the direction of Habla at 07:50 remained outside and went back.
All the gates are locked. The last of those crossing leave the checkpoint. During our entire stay here, the soldiers tried to send us back - "You there with the red sweater! Waalah, get back!" This was done despite the fact that we did not stand at the checkpoint, but rather on the"Israeli" side of the gate, i.e., not in the checkpoint area.