Eliyahu Crossing, Eyal Crossing, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

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Observers Leora Shamir, Edna Sela, Annelien Kisch (reporting)

4.55  Irtah/Sha'ar Efrayim - It takes 10 minutes until the gate is opened for the crowd of impatient Palestinian workers. Only at 5.05 can the first laborer pass the magnometer.  We hear nonstop commands via the loudspeaker we cannot understand.  It seems to be in Arabic. No special “women’s gate” is open. We are hardly there, near the entrance, and an army vehicle appears.  Three soldiers approach us and one of them, the commanding officer, asks us, very politely, who we are and what we are doing there.  When we show him our batch, he says he is familiar with Machsom Watch. He lets us observe (but stays in the background) and asks not to touch the fence that separates us from the Palestinians (in “area C”) as it sets off a signal. He even says we can stay there, when, a few minutes later a second army-command-car arrives. But as there is “nothing new” -  workers climbing through holes cut in the fence and the roof to jump the line - we leave for the exit, after “marking” one laborer to be able to check the time it will take him to pass the Terminal.  Needless to say the building of a new entrance for the workers has not started, as was promised it would immediately after Pesach!!

5.20 At the exit of the Terminal we hear no complaints: ”things are much better than last week”.  We cannot find out what the difference is and why, but indeed things seem to run rather fluently this morning. Only once we hear shouting coming from the inside of the Terminal. We hear from a worker who just exited  that someone is furious as he has to retrace his steps just after he passed all the security-checks  and has to go to the” sealed room”.         We were not shown any “sealed room” during our tour through the Terminal a few months ago, so we wondered what this room is.  As we can see very little from where we are standing and our knowledge of Arabic is nonexistent, so we cannot get much clear information from the Palestinians either, many things are kept in the dark for us.                It took the “marked” laborer 35 min to pass.

6.05 We are on our way to Eyal crossing.

6.20 Eyal crossing - most workers seem to have passed, we see only one or two workers exiting the Terminal and relatively few are waiting in the parking-lot. There is still a bus waiting though.

6.27 We pass Eliyahu crossing without problems.

6.30 Habla gate. The agricultural gate is open at the time it should be. The identity papers of the Palestinians are being checked by hand near the exit gate and not, as usual, in the booth with its computers. They pass five by five.  There is no queue. . 

Regarding the pump.    See : http://www.machsomwatch.org/en/reports/checkpoints/30/04/2014/afternoon/26020

 We want to know if the water-pump that was donated by the Swedish government and installed several months ago is working at last.  We ask three people and get different answers. One says it does and so does the old guard, but the most reliable answer seems the one from Yunis from Ras Atia (friend of Dalia G.), who we give a ride to his workplace. He explains that the generator is not strong enough to give the needed power for the pump to function.    In short we believe that the pump does not work yet, but we should get more definite information from the nursery owners who are not there yet  at that early hour.

6.45  We are on our way home