Eyal Crossing, 'Anabta, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Jubara (Kafriat), Tue 22.9.09, Afternoon

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Reba, Amira. translation: Charles K

Last day of ‘Eid el Fitr:  Light traffic of Palestinians coming back from work.  The roads to Anabta are crowded with Israeli Arabs shopping in Palestine and/or visiting relatives.  At Irtach, Palestinians visiting Israel for the holiday are delayed.  “It’s a racist state, it’s a racist state,” a driver yelled to us at the Eyal crossing. 

15:00(about) Irtach.  

A new canopy for shade has been placed near the entry turnstile.  Very few laborers returning from work.  A number of Israeli Arabs are waiting at the entrance with their children for relatives coming to join them for the concluding holiday dinner.  The man from Nazareth says that he’s been waiting three hours for his wife’s parents from Tulkarm.  He came to bring them to his house.  They’re standing in the sun on the other side, and aren’t being allowed through.  There’s no one to ask.  The inspection booths are empty, and only at the far end is someone sitting at a computer checking those coming in.  We can’t see the armed sentries up above either.  Reba calls the DCO, but meanwhile the relatives slowly exit.  They say that more people are waiting.  It’s already 16:40.  According to the permit, the man from Nazareth has to bring his in-laws back by 19:00.  How long will they have to visit? 

A merchant from Jiftlik complains and asks us to help him obtain a “3-month permit, like at Huwwara, at Jenin, and not only for one month.” Every month he must pay to renew it, and loses money. 

15:50  Jubara. 

 A very long line of some 30 cars stretches from Palestine to Israel.  All belong to Israeli Arabs who shopped or visited relatives and are now returning.  The road to Anabta is livelier than ever.  Israeli Arabs can enter cities in Area A, and that opened up opportunities. 

16:00  Anabta.  

Traffic flows, to Tulkarm in particular – a flow of cars with yellow license plates enters without being delayed, nor are there delays on the way out. 

16:15  Back to Jubara.  A long, long line of about 40 cars at the exit to Israel.  They wait obediently in a single line.  We see some who bypass the line.  The young girl peddler moving among the cars comes over to our window and says, “Intu Yahud, ruhu l’hunak;” You’re Jews, get over there!.

A driver waiting on line grins at us and says, in an Arabic accent, “Pass them, pass them.  Jews are allowed to, that’s how it is at the checkpoints”!  We go past, and the soldiers don’t say anything. 

16:30  Eyal crossing. 

 Few laborers returning. 

A family with six children, in holiday attire, comes out of the checkpoint to Taiybe.  The father tells us that they arrived three hours ago from Habala, but he didn’t have his children’s birth certificates.  Even though they’re all listed in their parents’ ID cards, they had to go back to Habala and get the birth certificates.  The children were crying and afraid of the soldiers; that’s how they’re on their way to celebrate. 

The driver of a jalopy full of passengers comes over to us in the parking lot.  He’s seething with anger.  Yesterday he called the DCO to ask whether he could bring his family from East Jerusalem to Taiybe via Jabara.  The family members have blue and green ID cards.  He was told he could go through, but today, when he arrived (and of course waited patiently in the long line) he was told to return and go through the Eyal crossing.  “It’s a racist state, it’s a racist state”! he yelled, “I just wasted an hour and a half having to go around”!