Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Mon 9.11.09, Morning

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Ziona O., Smadar B.

Translator: Louise Levi

About 4000 workers are waiting outside. Some of them complain to us about the work in Israel. They explain that in the last month the company in charge of security has become stricter making life for the workers even harder. The line keeps getting longer. Because of the picking season there are about 1000 additional workers. Some of the women are sitting on the asphalt waiting for the turnstiles to open. Of course, no roof has been built to protect the workers from the rain, and the chances of it being built sometime are small.  4.30
The turnstiles open. Instructions to enter at a slow pace and to put bags on the side are given through the loudspeakers. 50 workers enter at once. The workers push and shout at each other to enter and to run quickly. Endangering themselves they start to jump and break through the fence to reach the turnstile. The guard calls Ziona's name and asks her to marry him. Ziona takes advantage of this very personal approach and begs him to open the turnstile. And so, due to long and exhausting marriage  negotiations, the guard lets an increasing number of workers pass through (who says that personal relations are not helpful at times).

The guard goes on explaining that life is hard and that each worker should have to pay 1 NIS to pass every morning. He also wishes all the workers success in finding work in Israel. He claims that 90% do not find work.

The workers claim that without our representatives at the checkpoint they do not manage to pass until 7 o’clock.

The turnstiles are open and the passage is smooth. We leave.
5000 passed the checkpoint today.

Later on, when we spoke to Israeli Arabs, we were told that every Sabbath, when they go shopping or visiting in the territories, they are detained for hours at the checkpoints at Jubara and Anabta on their way home. Is it possible to find out what is happening and why people are being detained?