Eyal, Sun 19.4.09, Morning
The closure because of the holiday ended last night at 12.00. Today the crossing of the workers is reasonable. That is according to the way the checkpoint functions. The checkpoint opens on time and even a minute early, 3.59 and there is a stream of 20-40 workers being checked. The turnstile only closes for a few minutes now and again.
5.03 - 5.05 - 45 workers go through.
5.44 - 5.46 -112 workers go through.
Sample checking of the exit after the checking:
Dalia reports that she counted 29 workers in one and later 40 workers in one minute.
The workers are not pressed for time and thus pass through one by one without pushing like the days when the opening of the checking is delayed or the passage slow. The soldiers, for a change, are impressed at the early hour of our arrival and do not chase us away and even find time to exchange a word with us. They have orders to disperse any disturbance with tear gas. The Palestinians of course are to blame when there are disturbances. The Palestinians get up early for work and the soldiers also at 4a.m. and they have no complaints. They say they are protecting our security in Tel Aviv. And in the end the conversation reveals that some of them come from Qedumim and they say that this is our land from the sea to the river and that the Palestinians have to adapt to any conditions. Today they have no work as the traffic moves well. The Internationals are on the Palestinian side and say that the movement is steady. We leave at 6.50 and in the line are 150 workers. The Internationals report that at 7.10 the last of the workers had gone through.
But the bureaucratic and structural problems remain as to how to maintain a "reasonable passage" for these workers:
1. There are workers who go out early in the morning. A worker from the village of Bidiya says that he leaves his house at 2.15. He goes through two checkpoints, one of the Palestinian police and afterwards the checkpoint at Khirbet Jalud. Usually he is delayed for half an hour at the Israeli checkpoint. He gets to the Eyal checkpoint at 3.30 so as to get a place in line amongst the first. He goes through at 4.00. The checking takes 20 minutes and he gets through at 4.30. In the parking lot he waits for his employer who gets there at 6.00. He works from 7.00 - 16.00 and gets back to Eyal at 16.30. There he waits in line to go back to Palestine. He gets home about 18.00. He says he only sleeps four hours at night. He earns 200 shekel a day and from that he has to pay for his daily transport. 40 - 80 shekel each side including from Bidiya to the checkpoint and from there to work and back again. So he is 5 hours on the road and works 9 hours for 120 shekel a day. And it is considered a catch if one can work in Israel.
2. Only two out of 4 checking posts work and 4 computers out of 8. If all the posts and computers worked the workers would be able to get up later and would all be outside between 6.00 and 6.30. And just remember that these are workers who have gone through all the careful checking of the secret service so as to work in Israel and all the same this is not legal by the international laws that in occupied areas everyone who wants should be allowed to work.
3. The workers have to enter and exit by the same checkpoint each day and whoever does not do so is warned by proclamations which hang inside the building that he will have his permit cancelled.
Workers who have permits for 24 hours or permission until 12.00 at night ask us what they can do seeing that the checkpoint is only open until 19.00. The military police do not know. The DCO at Qalqiliya says that in such cases they can come back through other checkpoints and will not be considered as those who have not come back on time.