Eyal Crossing, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

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Edith M., Erella G. and Tessa (activists from Holland), Annelien K. (reporting and foto’s)

3.50   It was almost impossible to park our car on the usual place as the road leading to the parking- lot was already full with the white transit cars, waiting for their passengers.                                                               Why for heaven’s sake is the parking-lot CLOSED?!  For both passengers and drivers this only complicates life; when more and more transits arrive for the thousands of workers who need transportation and there is no room for them to turn and reverse, a complete chaos is created.

At the Palestinian side of the fence young workers, who try to jump the queue, climbed on what is left of the roof: we dread the situation when there will be rain. Nobody is willing to take responsibility for what happens to these workers during the weeks before the building – with its slow progress – will be ready. At least a temporary, protective roofing should be arranged.

4.04 -The Terminal opens its gatesinfo-icon to the usual Sunday-crowd of three or four thousand Palestinian workers. The first dozens pass the turnstiles before they close for a few minutes.  After all these workers pass the magnometer, the next group is allowed to enter. All this is accompanied by a lot of noise not only by the crowd but also by the large cans that are in front of or behind the turnstiles  and which sometimes get caught in between, preventing the turnstiles to turn. (We guess these cans are used for sitting when workers come a long time before the gate opens to make sure to be the first to enter the Terminal)

The pressure in front of the turnstiles of the so many people becomes unbearable for some: we see a Palestinian becoming unwell and a few minutes later a second one. Both sit down in the area between the turnstiles and the magnometer .  After a few minutes the second one is able to stand up and to continue but the state of the other appears to worsen. Several of his fellow workers try to help. They lay him down and put his feet up on some cans. They ask us if we have water [which they are not allowed to bring(!)]  and fortunately  Erella is able to throw her liter-bottle of water over the two fences.  Meanwhile the regular (today almost hysterical) orders via the loudspeaker continue until at last someone “from there” notices something has happened.  Seemingly they did not hear our shouting and whistling….  It takes at least 20 minutes until a guard appears who opens a side gate and, only after the sick man has been pushed via the magnometer with the help of a group of workers, they can carry him to the –far away (!) -Palestinian ambulance.

[today –Tuesday-I managed to find out that both men were brought to hospital in Tulkarm and after resting and receiving treatment they were able to go home]

4.30 -We go to the exit side and we can feel the depressed atmosphere; a case like this clearly upsets the people. We hear remarks like “we are not animals”, “why are you not watching the other side”, “it’s a war there”, ”what is the use of what you are doing”.  In spite of all this it looks as if the proceedings inside the Terminal go smoothly as it takes several workers only between 10 and 5 min. to pass.      We watch once more at the entrance side- nothing “new” there, once more at the exit – idem; the routine of the occupation.

5.30 -We leave Irtach and drive via Eyal Terminal where I show the Dutch ladies,- from afar- , one of the  differences between these two Terminals:  at the Qalqiliya- side (area A) the Palestinian police can keep order, which is not allowed in area C at Irtach.    

 We have a look inside the settlement of Tsufin where we see the (illegal) building continuing at full speed and at 6.40 we are on our way home, no questions asked either at checkpoint 109 near Tsufin or the large Eliyahu Crossing.