Eliyahu Crossing, Eyal Crossing, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 15.12.10, Morning
Until the sun came up it was terribly cold and we asked ourselves how the Palestinians arrive at the CP in the middle of the night – those who are house builders, agricultural laborers, cleaning staff and otherwise engaged in different tasks which the Israelis despise or are unwilling to fulfill for the wages that are paid for them – standing in this cold and then still have to perform physical labor.
– Those who have already left the checking areas are dispersed in small groups at the junction, in the parking lot, at the square attached to the CP, the same square in which, until a few months ago, the vehicles which transport the workers to their destinations in Israel, could stand.
The iron arm which blocked the road leading to the CP has been removed.
At the side of the entrance to the site the turnstiles are still. But immediately after our arrival they were activated and the people hurried in. At each opening of the turnstile 30-50 people manage to push in, in front of the magnometer. Every minute is precious (a minute which isn't saved while waiting for the check in the "rooms") and the people put on the table the objects which could activate the magnometer (for example canned goods).
The hidden voice which emanates from the loudspeaker usually speaks today to the people entering in a calm and quiet voice. However, the slightest delay in removing objects and placing them on the table, immediately provokes the raing of the voice and an impatient tone: "Yallah, pass on!"
And again the turnstiles are still. Five minutes later they are activated. And thus it goes on.
A woman returns. "What happened"? "hawiya" – papers. But she already passed the turnstiles
and it wasn't clear what the problem with her ID card was.
It is still dark, but one can see that on the path leading to entrance to the CP very many people stand in a crowd. From time to time the voice of the people changes into a call of resentment because of the lengthy wait. The voice is borne on the air, but there is no living being on the other side that seems to have been actually heeding the heartfelt grievance.
A man returns and then another but both refuse to elaborate on the reason why.
05:30 We are at the exit point from the building. People come out all the time but at varying speed. A man who comes out says that inside there are no people, and yet there are many people outside who await their turn to go in.
05:40 We left.
At the parking lot there are many people and many vehicles. Among the vehicles there are also busses waiting for the arrival of the relatives of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. They are due to arrive at 07:30.
On the path that leads from Kalkilya to the CP the turnstile is activated and people pass one by one. It is still dark and the silhouette movement of the people entering seems like a film projected in slow motion. There is no crowding on the pass and a rough estimate of the number of people who have not yet entered to be checked is 300.
We pass on to the turnstile on the exit path from the installation, and a man tells us while walking to the parking lot: "There is nothing harder than this life".
We drove through the Zofin CP. A border-policeman seems embarrassed or perplexed about the car that bears the Machsom-Watch flag. With a hesitant gesture he signals us to stop. "Where are you from ?" "I am asking because of the flag. The car begins to drive, and he again signals us to stop. This time he wishes to check the trunk of the car.
Later on we looked back on what not long ago has been the Kalkilya CP. Now there an enormous advertisement signpost is hoisted above the road, on the spot where the CP had been.
06:45 – Eliyahu Passage.
People continue arriving at the checking station for Palestinians who were lucky to obtain a work permit in the settlement of Alfey Menashe. About 15 men and women were standing there.
07:05 – Two busses carrying students from the Bedouine diaspora of Arb A-Ramadin, arrive. These children study at Habla and Kilkilya. A soldier mounts on the bus and performs a check.
The driver of one of the buses asks that when the students return at noon the gate should be opened for them at 13:15 instead of at 13:45. The busses with the students arrive at 13:15 and are obliged to wait. This waiting period is sure to cause problems and the driver expresses his apprehension that children (as is their wont) may act stupidly.
We left. There are still a number of people waiting to pass on to their lands