Eyal Crossing

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Neta Golan.  Chana Stein translating

Not exactly a report: I transported a family - a mother, her son, and her daughter, inhabitants of Azzun, from Rambam hospital to Eyal checkpoint. I have transported patients a number of times to this checkpoint, but in the early afternoon, when there wasn’t traffic of workers returning home to the West Bank.  Today I arrived after 3 o’clock and there was already quite a lot of movement.  I remained to watch for a while.

15.20-16.00 Eyal checkpoint

Minibuses arrive at the Israeli parking lot.  Workers quickly alight and stride along the marked path towards the turnstile at the side of the terminal. One of those responsible, on behalf of the Ministry of Defense and/or a security company, approaches me and politely asks me what I am doing, asks me not to pass the turnstile or to photograph. (I do not understand why the army allows photography and the checkpoints authority – apparently civilian – forbids it.) In answer to my question, I am told that about 8000 people pass daily in each direction -  more on Sundays because some have permits allowing them to stay overnight in Israel. These people return to the West Bank on Thursday. Next to the turnstile is a red notice with letters in white: Checkpoint to Qalqiliya and Area A., with the symbol of the Checkpoints Authority. Beyond the turnstile are posts for checking permits, but no one I saw seemed to require one.

More minibuses and cars continue to arrive and people go to the turnstile. There is no pressure and no queues.  A few call out loudly, in Arabic, “No to checkpoints!” reading from the label I am wearing. I am greeted in three languages - Arabic, Hebrew, and English.  Among those passing, I saw only three women.