Eyal, Sun 26.4.09, Morning
is one of the boarder crossings into Israel from the West Bank . It is
situated just west of Qalqilyia. All those who cross here have been
given permits by the army. The majority are workers.
On the Palestinian side there is one turnstile which allows the
people who are lined up behind it to enter into the checking terminal.
When we arrived at 4:30AM on Sunday 26/4/09 there were about 130 people
waiting on a single line behind the turnstile. Beyond this single line
of people was a yellow gate. Behind this gate another group of people were waiting. It seems that the Palestinians themselves try to man this yellow gate so that people
don't crowd around the one turnstile. At first it was too dark for us
to see how many people were waiting behind the yellow gate. At
5:44AM when it became light enough, we saw that there were hundreds of
people waiting behind the yellow gate in one huge mass.
about the first 2 hours we were there people filed through the
turnstile one by one and the turnstile would open for about a minute,
then close for a minute, and then open again. Once as many as 65 were
allowed through at once but most of the time there was an average of
about 22 people allowed through. The turnstile was closed for as long
as 5 minutes or as short as a few seconds with the average a little
less then a minute.
to Ditza who stood at the other side of the terminal which is the exit
of the terminal and is on the Israeli side, an average of 18 people per
minute would leave the terminal after being checked. According to the
Palestinians, there were 4 booths opened for checking their permits
must of the time. There was a period of about 20 minutes when there
were only 3 booths opened.
about 6:00AM the single line leading to the turnstile started to double
up. The mass of people behind the yellow gate seemed to be growing.
There seemed to be a shift in patience. Perhaps the hour was late and
people felt pressured about getting to work on time.
People started to cut in line here and there. At 6:20AM all order
stopped and people started to crowd around the turnstile and the people
from behind the yellow gate came through all at once. Because of the
crowding and squeezing at the turnstile, the turnstile would get stuck
and the number of people passing through trickled to about 6 to 10
people a minute. Ditza noted that this was reflected in the number of
people who exited the terminal as well.
6:24AM an army jeep drove up to the area and tried to get the
Palestinians to move back. There was shouting and pushing but no aiming
of guns or throwing of tear gas. The week before the army had used tear
gas. The soldiers did not want us standing there and claimed it was a
sterile military zone. We argued with them about that. They said we
were preventing them from taking care of the problem. By about 7:00AM
the jeep left and people
continued to crowd around the turnstile but the crowd was much smaller
and by 7:30AM there was almost no one left on line.
to the Internationals who were there on the other side of the fence
(the Palestinian side) 3,368 people passed through between 4:00AM when
the Eyal CP opens and 8:00AM.
is very difficult to watch people being given such little respect.
These are people who have been given permission to enter Israel in
order to work for us. They get up at 2or 3AM in the morning in order to
pass through other CPs before getting to Eyal . At Eyal they may wait
an hour or more on a line of hundreds of people because
there are only 4 checking booths. They are under the pressure of
wondering if they are going to get to work on time. They sometimes have
to fight each other to stay on line. Most do not have permits to stay
the night and must go through the CP again in the afternoon.. This goes
on day after day. One builder who was waiting for his workers to come