Makkabim (Beit Sira), Sun 22.6.08, Morning

Orit Y. and Ilana D. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

From 5:00 till 7:30 AM

We saw a soldier at the Givat Zeev CP near the gas
station, but no Palestinians, nor employers - it was still too early. We parked
the car on the Western side of Road 443 and crossed with many pedestrians - we
walked through the vehicle CP and noted that a wall is being erected alongside
the CP towards the East, probably to spare the drivers the sight of a queue of
Palestinians. They joined the long line of workers on their way into
Israel. El'ad the Commander of the CP
approached us and told us that he had heard ‘a lot' about us and wouldn't let
anyone pass unless we moved away. He stated in no uncertain terms that the
entire CP area was a militarized zone and allowed us to observe only from the
curb of Road 443, he said that no cars were allowed near the pedestrian passage
We heard from angry Palestinians that the CP had
opened only at 5:20 in stead of at five o'clock and that (again) only one of
the metal detectors is in use. Meanwhile the Palestinians were ordered to move
back and no one passed for a good five minutes - educational reprisals. Then
five at the time were let into the compound, but they passed slowly, one by one.
Two soldiers checked bags at the exit after they had already passed the metal
detector and their documents had been scrutinized. Many Palestinians were
carrying blue plastic iceboxes and no longer the usual plastic bags with their
lunches. Two blue police cars dropped 13 detaineesinfo-icon, who presumably had been
picked up during the night. One of the soldiers escorted them back beyond the CP
after their data had been entered into the computers. Needless to say, that all
processing of the workers was stopped while this soldier was engaged elsewhere.
We walked along the long line of waiting vehicles and saw that two young boys
(not older than 10) were selling coffee, which they heated with the help of a
large gas-canister - very dangerous. We timed 90 minutes until those who had
arrived together with us passed. The Palestinians who had arrived at 4:00 in
order to be first in line when the CP opened had had to wait much longer.
Meanwhile the queue grew and whereas most people greeted us with a smile, some
complained that we didn't help them at all. At around 6:30 the Jewish
contractors arrived, presumably after they had contacted their workers by phone
to find out how far they had proceeded in the queue. One of them was moved away
from near the CP where he had always waited, to the main road. There are no
proper parking facilities and as it got later and the amount of traffic on the
road increased it becomes very dangerous. One transit loaded so many passengers
that one of them had to lie down in the trunk.
One of the soldiers checking the bags moved into
the main vehicle CP when traffic had increased at 6:45 to open another line
on Road 443. The bags were then no longer checked.
The trickle of new arrivals slowed down at around
7:00 and we walked back to the car. Immediately El'ad the commander jumped at
us and said he had asked us not to get close to the CP. When told that we were
going home, he retreated and when we asked what the official opening times of
the pedestrian CP were, he replied: "What does it matter?"
In Givat Zeev a blue police car was parked in the
middle of a roundabout to spot workers walking to their jobs unaccompanied by
their employers. At the Givat Zeev CP we saw cars of contractors waiting for
their workers. In Mount Samuel people passed on foot from Bidu and many workers
were waiting at the entrance of the settlement. They are employed in
construction. However, they are only allowed to enter the settlement accompanied
by their employers who probably do not show up before 8:00. It was already