Eyal Crossing, Habla

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Observers Leora Shamir, Annelien Kisch (reporting and photo)



Eyal crossing, Tsufin, Habla,   dawn-shift 

Fewer  laborers during Ramadan,  poverty in Qalqiliya,  politeness and its opposite,  orders - from really high-up - to develop “ these lands”,  there is no one we can trust, water-pump still not in order!


4.55  Only one bus at the parking area at Eyal, but quite some transit cars are waiting. The bus-company seems to know that on Friday and  Ramadan there will be less laborers. This is confirmed later by a laborer and by what we saw.

4.58  We hear  a voice through a microphone calling the crossing-employees to be ready on their posts.

5.10  The first Palestinian worker exits the Terminal : “Excellent today”, he says.  “Situation: TEN” agrees the one who comes after him.  Being the first’s helps, we guess.  But indeed the workers seem less pressured and agitated compared to what we usually see at Irtach. There seem more women workers than at Irtach and we wonder what their jobs are. Most are working in agriculture we are being told.                    A Palestinian woman tells us she only works on Fridays; she has a permit for Jerusalem to pray but uses it to go working in the Sharon area. She needs to, she says, there is unemployment and poverty in Kalkiliya, one cannot reach one’s farmlands.” My father has area’s he has to neglect, as only I am allowed to help him and am not strong enough and sick as well, with cancer”. She shows us the medical report that confirms her claim. She has to care for her old parents and only daughter and has no husband.

5.40  We walk over to the side of the security road near the fence of Qalqiliya. We hear from far the polite voice of a guard (in the first checking-booth?) ”merchants can only pass at 6.00” as opposed to a loud and threatening women’s voice: “if I catch him, he has had it!” .  We see only few workers entering the Terminal.   Soon though an army car comes and a polite young soldier tells us to leave. The driver yells we passed a – forbidden - gate.  We tell him he is mistaken, but will not, even after he must have seen we were right, admit this. “This is military area” he shouts. No sign to confirm his claim. The polite soldier is insistent that we cannot even stand near the exit of the Terminal, but at the far end of the fence only.     The kiosk is covered with black clothes as during Pesach and closed for Ramadan.

5.55  We leave  Eyal crossing and are on our way to Tsufin..

6.00 Tsufin; building never seems to stop here.  Behind the fence that surrounds this blooming settlement we see area’s marked with different colored little flags that don’t look like a golf-link or any other sporting-ground but seem to us planned building-grounds. On our way out we see three soldiers patrolling at the area around Tsufin.   Towards the checkpoint  109, NE of Qalqiliya, we see the  large yellow signpost*, warning us not to let our cars be repaired in e.g. Qalqiliya (god forbid someone will earn some extra money, or plant a bomb, for that matter):       (*will ask Michael Sfard if this is legal.)



The soldiers near the checkpoint must have seen us stopping (and taking pictures?) as we are being –politely - asked for our identity-cards when we want to pass, which is unusual. No problem arises though, even seeing our MW-batch.  No problem at Eliyahu checkpoint either.

6.40  Habla.  We ask at what time people are allowed to pass. “6.30”is the answer. Were the soldiers waiting for us??       

6.42  Four workers pass, the fifth gets his horse and cart. Now the cart is being checked and is finally allowed to pass the gate at the Israeli side.  A slow trickle of workers, 5 by 5 pass the checking booth. Not many are waiting at the Palestinian side. The young soldier at the gate, T. from Tiberias, asks who we are but does not seem enthusiastic with our answer of “Machsom Watch”; he has though a lively and long conversation with Leora. No one could convince the other though:  if God tells you all of” these lands” (no clear answer where the borders will be…) belong to the Jewish people, who is Leora to say otherwise? We ask the old man, sitting near the shed, if the pump is already working. The answer is negative. We say him goodbye with “Eid mubarak” and “Ramadan karim” and leave at  7.10