Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 19.8.09, Morning

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Naomi L., Hanna A. (reporting)

Translator: Louise L.

3.45 Irtah

In spite of the darkness we are able to see the women gathering in a separate group from the men close to the opening which leads to the fenced off area through which they have to pass to reach the security position. We also notice that there are not very many people on the path to the opening but more and more people keep arriving. At 4.15 it is already quite crowded. At 4.20 the checking has not started yet, so we walk to the exit. The security guard in the parking lot says that he cannot talk to us, but he will find out why people are not being let through. He returns telling us that the guards are at a briefing which will be over in five minutes.

4.25  A woman's voice is heard from the loudspeakers 'Guards get to your positions'.

4.35  They begin letting people in.

4.36  The first people reach the parking area.
A man from the Jinin area asks us to turn to the authorities. He wonders if they would let him through at Barta.

We return to the spot where we have a view of the entrance. Some men are asked to take their shoes off, but we do not see any people holding on to their belts when they come out. People tell us that 3-4 security positions are working.

5.05  At security position no. 14 the guard reminds us of the important task the checkpoint fulfills – discipline and control for the sake of control. In a firm almost aggressive voice he tells the people who are waiting: "I don't want to see anybody here in the middle. I demand order. Move backwards. Do you want to get in today? Well, stop standing like that then."

Some women tell us that they work at picking tomatoes in Ra'anana; some men are waiting in a car to go to Ramat-HaSharon to work in construction.

One man asks us to turn to the authorities with a request to build covers at the entrance to the checkpoint.

All in all people are passing quickly and the compound where they are waiting for the drivers/employers is getting overcrowded. Some people are waiting outside the fenced off area. And soon somebody will be selling food on the side of the road. A table has been set up with a water container on it (for coffee?) and on the wall there are bright posters advertising deliveries of kosher pizza supervised by the rabbi in Shavei Shomron.

We ask the people what kind of food they are allowed to bring. Honey is forbidden, and so is ice, cooked food that the guards do not know is also forbidden. They are allowed to bring a small bottle of olive oil.

6.00  We leave.

6.20  Eyal
Here also many people are waiting for the drivers/employers outside the terminal. Some people carry their work tools with them.

When we ask questions a man tells us that he arrived at the checkpoint from Mazun-Atma at 4.45 and was let through at 5.00. He says that many people arrive very early, since sometimes the checking procedure is very slow. Today it was fast, and that is why there are so many people around. Knowing that today he has no choice but to pass at Eyal the man also tells us about how the passage from his village was closed, and how before that he would reach Petah Tikva in 15 minutes. He has been working in Israel for 25 years, from the age of 13, and since 1991 he has had to bring a permit.

6.30  We leave.