Eyal Crossing

Observers: 
Zwia, Rachel A.,Amira I. (reporting), Gordon – guest lecturer from USA lecturing on labor organizations , Translator: Louise L.
09/11/2014
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Morning

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If you are strong you win – Sunday at the Workers' Checkpoint

The Palestinian workers in Israel begin their day at 03:00, or maybe even earlier

 

We leave at 04:30

04:50 The checkpoint at Eyal. It's dark.

Hundreds of workers are gathered around the parking lot, small fires are burning where groups of men are getting some heat in the lingering night. Buses from the "Ofakim" company arrive to bring workers to the cities in central Israel:                                                Kefar Saba, ticket price - 5.30 NIS, Petah Tikva - 9.20 NIS, Tel-Aviv – 11.10 NIS.      

The buses leave and return for another load of workers.

 Workers keep exiting from the checkpoint.

Documentation of the line at the checkpoint entrance:

We walk up close to the fence at the beginning of the line of workers on the Palestinian side. After 2 minutes, the checkpoint "representatives" ask us not to stand so close. They worry that incendiary bombs might be thrown at us. They do not, at any time, prevent us from standing close to the fence next to the line of entering workers or from taking pictures and carrying out  interviews.

A., who speaks Arabic, talks with the Palestinian usher of the line. The cooperation works.

Thousands of people are crowding in the organized line under the roof on their way to the only turnstile letting them through to the checkpoint. But a parallel line has broken up and is pushing towards the turnstile. Angry voices are heard and young people are climbing over the spiked iron fence to be first at the turnstile, the diameter of which is short, maybe 30 centimeters. The pressure on this one turnstile is frightening. People are being pushed and getting injured.

Two people who have fainted are lying on the ground. (picture) All this happens because people do not want to miss the contractors' transportation to their day of work.

Talking to the workers, to the Palestinian ushers and to two ecumenical women counting the number of people crossing, we collect the following data:

·         On Sundays 7000 workers cross the checkpoint. On a regular day 6000. It takes half an hour for 1000 people to cross.

·         The double line forms on Sundays and after holidays when both the day workers and the workers with authorizations to stay in Israel for a week arrive.

·         All the workers have permits. Married people from the age of 25 and with no security risks are entitled to get a permit. Permits to work in agriculture are also given to younger people.

·         The workers to Eyal come from a large area from Jenin in the north and Jericho in the east. Many workers leave their homes at 03:00.

       The critical time is between  04:30 –05:50. Indeed, we notice how quiet it suddenly gets at about 05:45. At 06:45 there is no line any longer.

Every Sunday and after holidays, 1-2 people are injured in the line to the turnstile. Ambulances are called to attend to them. Today we saw two people lying down after having passed the turnstile. It looked as if they had fainted.

We saw a couple. The mother was carrying a babyinfo-icon girl with a mask of cloth on her mouth.The mother's foot was injured. (picture)

·         The women are passing through together with the men. There are no separate lines. They stick close to the fence with their backs to the men. They look frightened and upset. Somehow, the men let them move forward beside the line. Usually, they are cleaning women at hospitals and in factories.

 

The complaints we heard:

         Why are we treated like animalsinfo-icon? We have permits, so why do they check us 20 times?

         When a problem arises – "when the sewage starts leaking – soon it becomes a flood", that is, the line is delayed and everybody suffers.

         Why are additional turnstiles not installed at the checkpoint?

         If the boss is present –there are no problems in the line. If he is not there – you notice it at once. People push to be first at the turnstile and there are delays inside the checkpoint. The ushers lose control over the Palestinian line.

 

About the Palestinian ushers (their words)

The volunteer Palestinian ushers are deployed along the line from the market to the checkpoint entrance. They receive permits for a limited period of time. Some of them are laborers and others merchants. When their permits expire it takes a month and a half to renew them. Without permits they cannot work. There is no continuity, there are less people working and the line becomes chaotic. They complained about being checked at the entrance to the checkpoint. "They have our details, why check again?"

Talking to workers who are waiting outside for their transportation to work:

A senior construction worker tells us he is paid 270NIS . He pays 75 NIS in taxes to his employer and other taxes. He works in the center of TeAviv. He pays 7 NIS for the ride in the contractor's taxi to Kfar Saba and an additional 11.10 NIS for the bus ride to Tel-Aviv . The contractors do not supply water and food. He stays in Israel during the week and goes home on Fridays.

How much does he earn to support his family, and what does he have to offer his children?

07:00 We return in the traffic jams. We have time to discuss what we have seen. We suggest that the early risers among us visit the checkpoint at Eyal. It is still possible to go there and to observe the checkpoint.

We should find out if it is possible to bring decision- makers, journalists, Knesset members etc. to show them the violence and the rage that Israel arouses in the builders of the state and its workers at the checkpoint at Eyal and all the other designated "border crossings" even before sunrise. Everything, yes everything to make life hard for the workers and to deprive them of their human rights.

"Only one day of organized striking"….Zwia says, and we think of ideas and make suggestions. Gordon, our guest, suggests a different perspective. He will present the documentation about the system in his next lecture to his M.A. students. Maybe they  will have to open their eyes(?) Maybe they will understand?If you are strong you win – Sunday at the Workers' Checkpoint

The Palestinian workers in Israel begin their day at 03:00, or maybe even earlier

Observers: Zwia, Rachel A.,Amira I. (reporting)

and Gordon – guest lecturer from USA at the faculty of labor-studies (Jerusalem) lecturing on labor organizations

Translator: Louise L.

We leave at 04:30

04:50 The checkpoint at Eyal. It's dark.

Hundreds of workers are gathered around the parking lot, small fires are burning where groups of men are getting some heat in the lingering night. Buses from the "Ofakim" company arrive to bring workers to the cities in central Israel:                                                 Kefar Saba, ticket price - 5.30 NIS, Petah Tikva - 9.20 NIS, Tel-Aviv – 11.10 NIS.                       The buses leave and return for another load of workers.

 Workers keep exiting from the checkpoint.

Documentation of the line at the checkpoint entrance:

We walk up close to the fence at the beginning of the line of workers on the Palestinian side. After 2 minutes, the checkpoint "representatives" ask us not to stand so close. They worry that incendiary bombs might be thrown at us. They do not, at any time, prevent us from standing close to the fence next to the line of entering workers or from taking pictures and carrying out  interviews.

A., who speaks Arabic, talks with the Palestinian usher of the line. The cooperation works.

Thousands of people are crowding in the organized line under the roof on their way to the only turnstile letting them through to the checkpoint. But a parallel line has broken up and is pushing towards the turnstile. Angry voices are heard and young people are climbing over the spiked iron fence to be first at the turnstile, the diameter of which is short, maybe 30 centimeters. The pressure on this one turnstile is frightening. People are being pushed and getting injured.

Two people who have fainted are lying on the ground. (picture) All this happens because people do not want to miss the contractors' transportation to their day of work.

Talking to the workers, to the Palestinian ushers and to two ecumenical women counting the number of people crossing, we collect the following data:

         On Sundays 7000 workers cross the checkpoint. On a regular day 6000. It takes half an hour for 1000 people to cross.

         The double line forms on Sundays and after holidays when both the day workers and the workers with authorizations to stay in Israel for a week arrive.

         All the workers have permits. Married people from the age of 25 and with no security risks are entitled to get a permit. Permits to work in agriculture are also given to younger people.

         The workers to Eyal come from a large area from Jenin in the north and Jericho in the east. Many workers leave their homes at 03:00.

         The critical time is between  04:30 –05:50. Indeed, we notice how quiet it suddenly gets at about 05:45. At 06:45 there is no line any longer.

         Every Sunday and after holidays, 1-2 people are injured in the line to the turnstile. Ambulances are called to attend to them. Today we saw two people lying down after having passed the turnstile. It looked as if they had fainted.

         We saw a couple. The mother was carrying a baby girl with a mask of cloth on her mouth.The mother's foot was injured. (picture)

         The women are passing through together with the men. There are no separate lines. They stick close to the fence with their backs to the men. They look frightened and upset. Somehow, the men let them move forward beside the line. Usually, they are cleaning women at hospitals and in factories.

 

The complaints we heard:

         Why are we treated like animals? We have permits, so why do they check us 20 times?

         When a problem arises – "when the sewage starts leaking – soon it becomes a flood", that is, the line is delayed and everybody suffers.

         Why are additional turnstiles not installed at the checkpoint?

         If the boss is present – no problems in the line. If he is not there – you notice it at once. People push to be first at the turnstile and there are delays inside the checkpoint. The ushers lose control over the Palestinian line.

 

About the Palestinian ushers (their words)

The volunteer Palestinian ushers are deployed along the line from the market to the checkpoint entrance. They receive permits for a limited period of time. Some of them are laborers and others merchants. When their permits expire it takes a month and a half to renew them. Without permits they cannot work. There is no continuity, there are less people working and the line becomes chaotic. They complained about being checked at the entrance to the checkpoint. "They have our details, why check again?"

Talking to workers who are waiting outside for their transportation to work:

A senior construction worker tells us he is paid 270NIS . He pays 75 NIS in taxes to his employer and other taxes. He works in the center of TeAviv. He pays 7 NIS for the ride in the contractor's taxi to Kfar Saba and an additional 11.10 NIS for the bus ride to Tel-Aviv . The contractors do not supply water and food. He stays in Israel during the week and goes home on Fridays.

How much does he earn to support his family, and what does he have to offer his children?

07:00 We return in the traffic jams. We have time to discuss what we have seen. We suggest that the early risers among us visit the checkpoint at Eyal. It is still possible to go there and to observe the checkpoint.

We should find out if it is possible to bring decision- makers, journalists, Knesset members etc. to show them the violence and the rage that Israel arouses in the builders of the state and its workers at the checkpoint at Eyal and all the other designated "border crossings" even before sunrise. Everything, yes everything to make life hard for the workers and to deprive them of their human rights.

"Only one day of organized striking"….Zwia says, and we think of ideas and make suggestions. Gordon, our guest, suggests a different perspective. He will present the documentation about the system in his next lecture to his M.A. students. Maybe they  will have to open their eyes(?) Maybe they will understand?