Eyal, Mon 18.5.09, Morning

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Mickey F. and Deborah L.(reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?


This check point is scheduled to open at 4:00AM. It did not open until 4:20AM. The line leading to the turnstile at the entrance to the terminal from the Palestinian side was orderly and went beyond what the eye could see. In the first 15 minutes that the CP opened 676 people passed through and the line still went as far as the eye could see. An average of 16 people per minute left the terminal from the Israeli side. There were 4 checking units open.


At 5:07AM there was a mass rush to the turnstile and the order in the line disappeared. Hundreds of people crowded around the turnstile trying to get into the terminal. When there is so much pressure on the turnstile it often gets stuck. Occasionally Palestinians who managed to squeeze through the turnstile to the terminal side helped those still stuck to move through by pushing on the turnstile.  There is a metal doorway leading to the turnstile. Sometimes Palestinians would stand here preventing others from pushing through so that the turnstile would have more free movement.


A man who had arrived at the line at 3:30AM told me that at that time the line was already beyond where we could see. He said people start lining up at 2:00AM. Opening the CP twenty minutes late creates even a greater pressure. From the time they opened the CP it took this man 20 minutes to get to the front of the line. According to the count I did in the first half hour this means there were about 800 people in front of him.


At 5:30AM a man was injured. When he passed through the turnstile he sat down and a few soldiers came to speak to him. They helped him into the terminal. At 6:14 AM an ambulance arrived on the Palestinian side and the soldiers led the injured man back toward the ambulance. We did not see him get into the ambulance.


At about 5:35AM a soldier came to tell us to leave. We did not.


A man from Azzun Atman complained that they no longer allow him to go to Israel from his village. (Azzun Atman is right on the boarder of Israel). Instead he has to go through checkpoints at Jalud, Habla, and Qalqilyia before getting to Eyal. He got to Eyal at 4AM and at about 6AM he passed through the terminal.


At 6:48AM when we left, there were about 100 people around the turnstile.