Jalama, Sun 10.8.08, Morning

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Hannah H., Ruthie T. (reporting)
05:50 When we reach the CP, we park in a lot that is full of cars, especially vans waiting for workers. But there are also many workers waiting for their employers. Those leaving the terminal report with satisfaction that it opened at 05:00 a.m. (as has been usual for the last two weeks; before that it opened at 05:30). But they claim that entering takes a long time and request that an additional lane be opened leading to the terminal. And in fact, when we came we noticed a lot of pressure and a big crowd at the entrance gate.

We begin talking to one of the drivers and learn that workers employed by Israeli Arabs have to miss half a day's work on Friday because the CP closes for them at 14:00. With Jewish employers, the 'short' Friday is considered a full day's work. Those employed by Arabs prefer to work throughout the whole day, and they are organizing a ride home via Barta'a, where the CP is open Friday afternoon. For those from the West Bank who work for Israeli Arab employers, the terminal is open on Fridays and Saturdays until 18:00 for visits and for shopping.

We observe the interior turnstiles, behind which about 40 people are waiting for them to open. When they do open, there are cries of joy and the people run into the terminal. Somebody who has just emerged from the terminal announces that today, Sunday, things are really bad. It is already 06:30 and he is half an hour late. Young people, and some who look young, are put into the inspection rooms and they have to stay inside between half an hour and an hour; the others go through a lintel that whistles [if the person has any metal on him/ her]. The turnstiles open and close every ten minutes. At 07:00 a.m., the stay in the terminal is about ten minutes (without a stay in the rooms) and about 220 people do leave in an hour.

At 07:20, the parking lot is not as crowded as it was. We want to find out about the buses parked at the end of the lot, which belong to an Israeli – Arab transport company. Their drivers are waiting for prisoners' families, especially for older women; they will take them to various prisons in Israel. The transportation is funded by the Red Cross, whose representative is already walking around the area, and they have a police escort. The drivers tell us that the families that are going to the Beer Sheba prison do not manage to reach the CP before it closes at 17:00, and they have to go to Barta'a where the CP is open until 21:00. That lengthens the trip home significantly.

07:30 – We return to the terminal entrance, where Israeli Arabs are waiting until eight o'clock, when they will be able to go through to the West Bank. At 07:35, a lame old lady who is heavy and bent, goes through the turnstile opposite us.

At 07:50 (very late – one or two workers detained in the rooms are delaying an entire group that is waiting for them) finally all the agricultural workers whose two employers are waiting for them, leave the terminal. They work at picking Manzolino olives for marinating, in the region of Carmiel and Tiberias. For twelve hours of work per day, they are paid, they say, 120 shekels.

At 08:00 the prisoners' families begin to leave the terminal. The lame old lady that we observed before was held inside the terminal for 25 minutes.

At 08:20, a young man accompanied by his parents, who is being treated at the Rambam Hospital, arrives at the CP, and we leave together.