​Touring shift at the Eyal and Habla checkpoints with the members of the JCALL group, mainly from France

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Karin L.; Translator: Hanna K.

Touring shift at the Eyal and Habla checkpoints with the members of the JCALL group, mainly from France

05:00 Eyal CP – we left the buses and descended into the usual tumult – buses and cars and hundreds of people trying to make way for themselves. The guest were in shock.  We reached the fence and saw the dense endless queue on the Kilkiliya side, progressing slowly up to the turnstiles, and then the stressed passage through the turnstiles. We accompanied the squashed workers along the fence up to the internal passage, which, in itself, is separated by turnstiles. From all the pressure, somebody was stuck in the turnstiles. The pressure mounted and after a few shouts, a side passage, without turnstiles, was opened. There was enough time for taking photos until the security people arrived and asked us politely to retreat behind the line of the installation walls. We retuned by the exit route where the passage was much sparser than on the other side. A woman, talking excellent Hebrew,( she has been working for thirty years for a family at Ra’anana), called me to stress the delays in the installation which cause the heavy load at the entrance.

05:30 A planned meeting near the closed kiosk (Ramadan) with N. from Jayyus, which caused the guests to linger, fascinated, for a long while, and which was translated by one of the two leaders of the group. Then he took them aside to meet a father and his little son on their way to a hospital in Israel. The guests could not understand why sick people, amongst which were children, were forced to push their way with all the workers, and that no direct passage is opened for them.

A Palestinian worker come up to me and told me that he and many others like him who turn around in the area, are unemployed. Some have passage permits to work and others in order to search for work, but they cannot find anybody to employ them. Since the beginning of the Ramadan, about 10 days, he has worked just one day. He and the others arrive each morning, wait for somebody to employ them (he is a house painter) and after a few hours they despair and return home. He told us about the possibility to buy a permit from an employer for 2000 or 2600 shekel, or cases where the employer subtracts 100 shekel from the daily wages which amount to 300 shekel. I translated his words.

06:20 – We continued to the Tzofim CP in order to shorten the way to Habla and to give a label of passage through a CP. The passage was smooth, as usual. I explained about the big areas which were robbed from the inhabitants of Kilkiliya and Jiyus for this small settlement and about the Kilkiliya enclave which has remained for many years under siege. At the Eliyahu CP we were delayed for a long time, were interrogated, they tried to understand where we came from and where we were heading, stood us aside for passport checks. Over 15 vehicles with Israeli number plates (Palestinian Israeli drivers) were waiting in the shed to be checked. In the end, they waived the demand that all the passengers descend from the bus. Two security persons went up to the bus to check everybody’s passport and they bullied only the driver, because he was an Arab, so he explained.

06:40 – after a short intermission for coffee at the gas station, we went for an observation of the Seam Zone, with explanations about the dividing fence which has been moved, and saw the big gate which was hardly ever opened. After a short round at Alfey Menashe, in order to stress the the wellbeing of the inhabitants who do not “feel” that they are living on Palestinian land. We stopped at Arab-A-Ramadin and I told them about the ruins and about the school.

07:20 – Habla. We drove nearly till Tayibe, so that the big bus would be able to make a U turn and to reach Habla without crossing a white line. The big gate was wide open, and from time to time a car or an empty truck passed. I assume that whoever wanted to cross over did it earlier. And it was Ramadan too.

We returned to Tel Aviv with traffic jams all the way.