Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Deir Ballut, Eliyahu Crossing, Mon 17.10.11, Morning
On Route 446 parallel to Zaatra Checkpoint and close to the settlements of Alei Zahav and Peduel. Prevents Palestinians from travelling southward.
10:00 - Eliyahu crossing Not many vehicles or people in the new "installation". 'Azzun: We stopped to buy water and a number of people immediately approached us in order to tell us their problems. A father of a child receiving treatment in Tel Hashomer Hospital, who had undergone an operations on his hands, needed a permit for the next operation and ran into problems; a youth whose travel permit had expired in July, who is unemployed, while his elderly parents are still working their fields on the other side of the fence; a metal worker from a factory in Karnei Shomron who, along with many of his co-workers, is owed quite a bit of money for his work, and his Israeli employer forgets to pay them. We tried to help everyone by giving them the appropriate phone numbers and explanations, hoping they will find solutions to their problems. We continued on route #3, very well-described by Daliah, and arrived at the southern checkpoint of 'Azzun Atma, through which, of course, one cannot pass. Returned to 'Azzun Atma where we clarified, with the shop owner, if the army visits at night. The answer is yes. Sometimes they stop, sometimes just pass through. One of the residents told us that he has olive groves in Oranit and, until 2 years ago, they let him pass through and harvest them. Now, however, he has not been able to get there for two years. Once, as a boy, he worked in the shuk in Petah Tikva; today he is an infrastructure builder and has been building the new roads.
By way of Mascha we arrived at the southern checkpoint of Mascha (near the Hani Gate), at a time when the gate is open, at 12:30, for a couple of minutes. The 3 families who received permits to harvest the olives in the fields close to Elkana - opposite the gate - came back with their donkeys laden with olives. We spoke with Ayad, who didn't get a permit this year and was waiting in the car for his family. Opposite them, they are building 120 apartments. It will be interesting to see whether they receive permits for the harvest when these apartments are occupied... We continued to Bidia and crossed underneath road #5 to Dir Balut and from there back to Israeli at 13:00.