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, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Habla, Kufr Jammal, Mon 20.2.12, Morning
06.45 'Azzun 'Atma . It is clear and cold after the storm. Many workers have already crossed and are waiting for transport. Every now and again a taxi arrives with new people to join the short line inside.
07.13 Habla. The gate is open. Two buses wait to enter.
07.15 The first batch of 5 workers exits. About 35 people are waiting inside. The military policewoman enters the buses to check; about 10 minute waiting time. 3 military police officers arrive and enter the checking booth.
07.30 The line does not get shorter as all the time new people arrive. Checking is very slow. One worker who comes out complains that the policewomen inside laugh and chat and don’t work. I complain to the Humanitarian Center. In 30 minutes only 25 people have passed. The officers leave. According to them, one of the computer stations is down and it is impossible to register people by hand ‘because perhaps ‘some refused’ will enter…’, although in the past this solution worked. They say they tried unsuccessfully to correct the fault and were now going to contact the technical unit. It would be worth checking at following watches to see if the fault has been corrected.
There are still scores of workers waiting, and people come out very angry.
08.15 We leave.
08.25 Eliyahu gate (109). Around the checkpoint there is work in progress on gardening, making paths, planting trees and decorative wall facing – at a time of “shortage” in the defense budget. Only Palestinians working in agriculture and nurseries are allowed through here. Workers of Alfe Menashe have to go via Eyal crossing, which is harder for both workers and employers. A number of pedestrians wait to pass the carousels. It takes 3 minutes between entering the checkpoint and exiting. There are 3 cars in the car-checking station, being checked thoroughly, with the help of a dog.
08.40 We leave.
08.45 At the entrance to 'Azzun there is an army vehicle with soldiers.
09.00 Falamya checkpoint. There are a few people. Two young men come out – they have finished some work in a Za’atar field and are returning to the village. The gate is closed and has to be opened each time.
09.19 We leave and drive to Kafr Jammal along the by-road to enjoy the orchard flowers.
09.30 Kafr Jammal. The street next to the grocery of Z. is being thoroughly renovated. Apparently the French government has donated money and the workers there are mainly the unemployed of the village. We are received happily at the grocery.
10.30 At the 'Azzun entrance there is still an army vehicle.