Eliyahu Crossing, Eyal Crossing, Habla, Mon 20.6.11, Morning
As was expected after an hour after the opening of the terminal the parking-area is already crowded with workers waiting for their employer. They will have to start their day far before the moment they are being fetched to be sure to make it in time, as the whims of the Occupation give no guarantee for punctuality of arrival at an appointed time.
“You are late!” a Palestinian said to us with a benevolent smile.
All Israeli’s can sleep quietly as not only the IDF keeps us safe, but some of the Palestinians as well as we can read on some of their T-shirts with “ביטחון“and “NYPD” .
The terminal area is more and more established compared with some months ago:
The by now (watered!) well developed gardens and the beautiful wooden restaurant-building try to make it seem idyllic but this illusion is shattered by the even more and longer fences and extreme crowdedness.
Why do the passageways for the Palestinian workers between these fences have to be so terribly narrow and the large parking area for the one or two cars belonging to the terminal workers so wide and almost deserted?!!
By now, the Palestinians have to pass 5 “carrousels” of about 50 cm wide before arriving at the Israeli side of the terminal, we are told. Not to mention all the other “security matters” they have to suffer. There seems to be a Palestinian “sadran” at their side to help maintain some order in the chaos of the thousands who are looking for work on the Israeli side of the Green Line.
If we are being escorted by a guard we are allowed to have a look from afar to have some impression of what is going on at the Palestinian side of the terminal. As no guard appeared after waiting for about 10 min we decided to go by ourselves and see that still hundreds of workers are waiting to be let through! This, by the way, is the fastest way to be confronted with someone of the terminal-staff: no sooner did we arrive at our observation point or an angry guard came to shoo us away.
I was wondering what he could do more than I if someone would – highly unlikely - really take a shot at us.
Palestinian day laborers have to be back at the terminal the latest at 19:00 (on Fridays at 17:00), but sometimes the Eyal-terminal is already closed at 18.00 or 18.30 !!
Just one Palestinian is waiting to pass.
06:05 Eliyahu gate.
By mistake we choose the Palestinian-car-passage, which naturally means waiting longer, but as there are just a few cars before us we can soon park our car at the Israeli side to have a look at the pedestrian-crossing.
Here pass every day about 250 Palestinians on their way to work only in the (illegal) settlement of Alfei Menashe.
Except the lucky ones that are in the possession of a bicycle, they all come here by foot from who knows how far.
We calculated that it takes minimum one and a half hour for all those to pass, as about every one minute just 3 laborers pass through the little building for their security- check.
Also here we see there is kept some order by the Palestinians themselves: names are written down on a slip of paper and called up by order of arrival at the checkpoint.
Women though are given preferential treatment by their compatriots and may pass without waiting in the queue.
The gates are being opened at the same time we arrive
In the check-booth there seems to be just one female soldier, “with her head somewhere else” as one Palestinian said with understanding. It takes her at least 5 till 6 minutes to check 5 Palestinian if there is no unusual occurrence.
Here too we see a few cyclists: they only have a few kilometers to go and can cycle the distance they are allowed without the need of a car..
A bus with about 10 children from the Bedouin-villages around Alfei Menahe passes into Habla.
While we are talking with a Palestinian, a white jeep from the “Matak” stops to ask if there are problems. When I give him a negative answer, he yells “I was not talking to you” and gets out of the car like a raving bull. Nura tries to calm him, but by now he claims “never have I been calmer since I left my mothers belly!” but turns around and gives his attention to other non-existent matters.
“Why can the gate not being opened earlier than 07:00?” is being asked by several Palestinian workers