Tarqumiya, Thu 10.4.08, Morning
Tomorrow the new Tarqumiya station built on the green line is to open. Today we don’t see oncoming minibuses carrying workers, so we assume there are problems at the CP. So now we become human rights activists.
A Palestinian man of about 50 from the village of Idna, close to Tarqumiya, has been hired by the private security company running the post. He is organizing the queues and explaining to the newcomers how to enter, etc. We ask if we can go inside to observe but it is forbidden.
0530 – We park on the Palestinian side in the parking lot, but are asked to leave by the security man because he needs a ‘sterile area”. But we insist on parking since it is clearly marked as a parking lot. The manager of the CP arrives. Nice guy. We ask him if it was marked for parking, why are there new orders for us. He says we have come “to make trouble”. But after a few minutes of pleasant conversations his attitude changes. He admires our efforts, he is here to give service to the Palestinians, and wants everything to run efficiently. He lets us park where we are.
Workers coming out of the crossing were very angry. They had gone to the old Tarqumiya run by the IDF, had gotten off their buses and were checked by the soldiers there. They were then forced to walk the 1 1/2 kms to the new CP, where they were checked again. At the terminal the Israeli vehicles were waiting for them to take them to work. Many of these workers are older men who must walk very fast so as not to slow down the rest who are running to catch the cars waiting for them.
We went to the old CP, where we found a group of MP’s who were checking the workers. There is no electricity in the booth since it is about to be taken down with the rest of the CP, and thus they have to stand outside. There is absolutely no security for the soldiers in this situation. We felt sorry for the workers, the soldiers, for everyone. How stupid and short-sighted.
We called the manager of the new terminal and described the absurd situation at the old CP. We suggested that he stop checking the workers at the new CP so that they wouldn’t have to go through the checking twice. He agreed and stopped the checking. We managed to save another 3,000 workers from going through the hassle.
Together with this we have to note that until they stopped, it was taking 15 mins per worker. The Palestinians were happy and it seems we were helpful.