'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Qalqiliya, Wed 23.4.08, Morning

Observers: 
Hannah A, Rina Z. Guests: Talila and Jean Pierre. Translator : Orna B.
Apr-23-2008
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Morning

Guests: Talila and Jean Pierre (a high school teacher from France)
 
Summary:
Workmen are awaiting inspection for
hours
, at Qalqiliya passage. They are shamefully exploited by employers
at Alphei Menashe. It's possible to refer wages' and work conditions'
problems to "Kav La'Oved"
(Worker's Helpline).
At all other checkpoints - the routine of the occupation; thin traffic.
Azzun is still blocked from both directions.
 
6:50 Qalqiliya passage
About 30-40 Palestinians are waiting beyond the fence for the inspection of their work permits.
Some have been waiting since 5:30. They complain of the slowness
of the inspections. We spoke to the Military Police  commander, second
lieutenant M. He says that the problem is that there is only one
computer. What we observed was one female soldier checking details on
the computer and another soldier writing the details of each worker by
hand.
 
The officer  also says that actually they are doing them a favour
by inspecting them here, unlike the workers who work in Israel, who are
inspected at the Eyal Passage, a few kms away. But it seems to be done
for different motives - from the Eyal terminal there is no passage for
Palestinians who go to work in Alphei Menashe, because the settlement
Tzufim is in between Eyal passage and Alphei Menashe. There one finds
another checkpoint which is closed to Palestinians, so that they can
only go through Israeli territory, and they have no authorisation to
remain in Israel overnight.
Each time 3-4 workemen come through from beyond the fence and wait
to be called to the inspection booth. When 4 more come out, a border
police woman ( her name I.M. is written on her arm) tells them rudely
to go back beyond the fence. The workers tell us that one day she
stopped a workman with a cellular phone with a camerainfo-icon (she thought he
was taking her photograph), and locked him up in a container until
9:30. The worker refuses to give us his name to complain- "everyone
here is afraid".
 
They all work at the settlement Alphei Menashe. The conditions of
employment there are disgraceful: Those who work in the factory receive
8 / 9 I.S. per hour. Those working on building sites, get 12 I.S. at
most. None of them get any social benefits. Hannah reports the matter
to Kav La'Oved (Worker's Helpline).
 
7:15 Qalqiliya Checkpoint
Very quiet. Thin traffic. No delays.
 
Azzun
The road connecting Izbat Tabib to Azzun, which is parallel to Route 55 - is blocked with rocks.
The main entrance from Route 55 - the blockade by earth piles and
barbed wire, which has been there for a few months, still exists. A
military vehicle is there too - a symbol of authority. Nevertheless,
people seem to be climbing the earth mound and sneaking through the
fence somehow, for we saw a few waiting for a cab by the road.
 
10:40 Anabta (Einav)
A mirage - the checkpoint is empty. Occasionally a car passes, and the soldier waves it on. The checkpoint commander, a second lieutenant, tells us that earlier there has
been an accident on the road leading from Route 557 to the checkpoint -
a lorry had turned over, and the road has been closed for about 20
minutes. He apologised for not being able to explain the reason for the
delays to the drivers waiting at the checkpoint. After that he let
everyone through very quickly.
 
11:05  Ar-ras Checkpoint (Farm 8).
At the entrance to Jubara we did not wait for the opening of the gate, neither at the entrance nor at the exit.
Traffic is thin. Terrible heat. A hot and dry eastern wind is
blowing. This checkpoint is wide open to the winds in summer and in
winter. The soldiers are there since 06:00 am, and the shift lasts 8
hours.
One of the soldiers is conversing with a driver. They both admire the sophisticated cellular phone of the Palestinian.