Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
04:00 The checkpoint is open. An endless flow of laborers enters the checkpoint in an orderly manner and with no congestion. There are fewer laborers than usual, and no congestion. They also reach the checkpoint more easily. The holes in the fence have been fixed. We were told the reduced number is the result of a temporary shortage of permits: the gap between the permit’s expiration and its renewal, and the end of the harvest period.
It’s already mid-May and we don’t see work has begun on the project they’re talking about.
Two issues raised by laborers:
A construction worker claims his employer said that if he doesn’t sign a document relinquishing employment benefits his work permit will be cancelled within two weeks. We referred him to “Kav LaOved,” with whom we’ve recently been in contact.
Another construction worker said he used to work in a restaurant, was fired when it changed hands and began working in construction. His former employer, from the restaurant, wants to hire him again, but his request to change his permit from construction to services isn’t being granted. We referred him also to “Kav LaOved.”
A taxi driver from Jenin who drives laborers to the checkpoint every morning said he leaves Jenin with them at 3 AM. He reaches the checkpoint at 4, then waits to pick up returning laborers and bring them to Jenin. The fare for a laborer is NIS15.
He tells us about a disaster that happened to him in 1998 (a serious traffic accident on his way to work in Israel). Since then he’s been unable to work in Israel. But he tells us how well his employer treated him, and how he’d been trusted.
Edna Sela joined us today for her first shift with Machsom Watch. Good luck…