Eyal Crossing, Sun 5.7.09, Morning

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Susan L., Alex, Miki P (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?


We arrived at 04:10.

The first workers were already at the parking lot. Immediately people came up to us angrily and said that only one station was open and that the computers were out of order. Almost nobody is leaving, and in general it was already better with the soldiers… We phoned the Advanced Command Post of the Qalqilya DCO, and they confirmed that the computers were out of order and that they are trying to repair...Soon all the computers will operate, that's what they promised…

 The gate in front of the square was closed. No possibility to enter and see the queue on the Palestinian side of the CP.

The computers operated again at 04:30 but the checking takes a long time. The workers claim that the soldiers usually were content with checking the magnetic card and the permit, whereas the civilian inspectors turn the ID card around and around and look at it for a long time "what's the matter, are they reading a book?" said one of the workers. 

8 stations are manned by employees who are wearing black uniforms, but the pace is very slow. Many people crowd around the computer. 12-15 workers pass in a minute (in the best of cases 18) – a slow pace, slower than when the CP was manned by soldiers, and when only 4 computer stations were open.

Workers come out and curse: "zift", "hara", "it was better when the soldiers were here.." "bring the soldiers back, it wasn't good, but now it's terrible"… They say that outside there is a queue of 3 kms up to the outskirts of Kalkilya…Also the tradespeople are allowed to pass only from 05:00. The soldiers gave us the paper with the instructions that the DCO had distributed. As far as I could read it says there that they are requested to keep the place clean, that smoking in the building was forbidden, that it was forbidden to pass work utensils and as for food _ I didn't understand the sentence. – Just food?

Also, in the checking room they put 20 people at a time, and check their ID cards…

One of the people comes out and says he wasn't allowed to take a thermos with coffee. They threw it away. He says that they hardly have half an hour's lunchbreak, and if they have to spend it preparing coffee, the whole lunchbreak goes.

 On the  other side of the fence a woman with food, who was not allowed to take her food with her. She had home-made Leben in a Cola bottle, 4 big pitot(fire-oven) a small humus tin and 4 uncooked chicken legs. 

She was told she couldn't pass with the food. She doesn't know what to do.

 We phoned the CP director and he answered impatiently that they let all food article through and they don't limit food.According to him he himself gave instructions to let water pass.

 The workers continue coming out, and continue complaining, about the queue, about the long passage, and about the fact that they are not allowed to take water in big bottles only in small ones, not cola, not honey, not olives and not tinned food.

 We see some tinned food with some of the people – but others claim that they were not allowed to pass food   "go and look for yourself, there is a pile of foodstuff near the stations…"

 Shimon the CP director passed near us and we stopped him to ask him about the food. He repeated impatiently, while hurrying to inspect what was happening at the CP – "We let everything go through except things one cannot be credited for"….we didn't understand what he meant by that, but soon it was clarified in the course of the conversation…

 "And a thermos" we continued. "No, a thermos not! It is impossible because the (improved?) machines cannot penetrate the hermetic cover… and "water with ice"? – these too cannot be passed according to the instructions of the Security Services". "And chicken legs?" This is according to the instructions of the Health Ministry as well as the Ministry for the Environment – uncooked food may not be brought through."Why wasn't the woman told that she was forbidden to pass the chicken only" – we asked. And he answered: "She lies". We didn't let her pass because her fingerprints are not in order". And the workers who stay for over 40 minutes in a room for checking? I shall give them  VIP certificates if anybody waits there for more than 10 minutes.. He stops a man and looks at his goods – they contained hummus and pitot – "did they let you pass evertything?" – Shimon asked "yes" the man answered, but even if they didn't let him pass something he surely wouldn't have dared say anything in view of the impatient tone of Shimon… So there is an answer to each questions and he hurries on.

 We didn't manage to ask him why the pace today was so slow compared to Wednesday – but to this question too he surely had an answer…But we we left if this time, but complained at the DCO, who said that the people were learning the job…We decided to see what would happen in the coming days…

 The workers continued coming out and all complained and asked to get the "golden calf" of the soldiers back – what can be done, under the occupation nothing gets better…it can always become worse…and indeed it became worse…the arsenal of decrees is never ending…

Will it be good someday? – I wish it would, but probably not in my lifetime…

 We left at 06:30 because Alex and Susan didn't feel well…

 We don't know when all the people finished crossing – I assume many left after 08:00 as in the "good days of the soldiers"….