Beit Iba, Eliyahu Crossing, Tue 17.3.09, Morning

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Natali, Shlomit S., Ruth C. (reporting), Translator: Judith G.

   07:00-07:45On our way to Beit Iba, about 20 workers are waiting in line at checkpoint Eliyahu.  We don't stop, but continue on  our way to Beit Iba.

Shlomit and I are nervous, the announcement about the cancellation of the checkpoint where we have stood for 4 years takes us by surprise – until we see it with our own eyes, we won't believe it.
We arrived at the yellow checkpoint on the way, the soldiers call it the "barrel checkpoint" because of the barrels which stand a little in front of it.  Of course, since going beyond this point is forbidden to Israelis, we try to get a little information from the Palestinian who is working as a cleaner; he claims to be a university graduate, but didn't find work and had also worked as a cleaner at Beit Iba.  We question him about Beit Iba, what is happening?  Indeed, there is no checkpoint and the passage for pedestrains and vehicles is open, free.  Shlomit keeps mumbling that she can't believe it.  At the "barrel" checkpoint traffic is flowing continuously, with almost no inspection, according to the commander, they are doing only random checkinginfo-icon.  The checkpoint is open from 05:00 in the morning until midnight, all the time, with only random inspection.  In our conversation, he again makes the point that the attack in the Jordan Valley was connected to the easing and cancelling of the checkpoints.  We, of course, don't see the connection.
 A bus driver passes in the second lane, he says the road is confusing, he is reprimanded and returned to the other lane.  Soon they will again invest in the building of roads and checkpoint and moving them from here to there.  The economy is flourishing so we can waste a little.  Next to the barrels there is a group of youths; one of them complains that at the checkpoint they are giving preference to vehicles over pedestrians.  Others, on the other hand, claim that everything is OK, and much better than before.