I drove two residents of Qalqiliya, a dignified grandfather and his seven year old grandson, from Rambam Hospital to the Eyal checkpoint and tarried a bit to observe the checkpoint.
13:50 The checkpoint area is almost empty at this hour. The grandfather and grandson are immediately swallowed up in the terminal.
After 14:00 the vehicles transporting workers begin arriving, men and a few women emerge from some minibuses and private cars, apparently their employers’.
The trunk of one car is crammed with cartons of strawberries. A Palestinian woman, from Qalqilya, stands selling alongside them (see photo – the cartons of strawberries, the toe of the woman’s shoe to the right). She works picking strawberries in the Gan Hayyim moshav and sells the produce. When the number of cartons declines the driver removes more from the trunk. I didn’t buy any; a carton contained too many for me.
Two people stand beside a broken washing machine, waiting for someone to arrive with a car and take it. They’re bitter; they arrived at the checkpoint early in the morning and crossed to Israel hoping to obtain construction work, painting, renovation, etc. They didn’t work today, or during the recent rainy days. They don’t have a permanent employer; they look for any jobs they can find. They paid in vain for transportation. One of them speaks Hebrew, says things are difficult and the checkpoint is very crowded in the morning. He says all the women work picking strawberries.
14:40 Some cars arrive, men and a few women emerge and are swallowed by the terminal. Not many arrive at this hour. I leave.