Habla and the roads leading to Dir Sharaf and 'Anabta
06:45 Agricultural Gate, Habla
The Palestinians report that the gate opened on time, at 06:30. Very rainy and muddy. The crossing is quick, one group of 5 waits at the turnstile and another leaves the building after about 2.5 minutes.
One man goes through and there are no more waiting. A slow dribble of people and a dribble of rain. In a conversation with a Palestinian who was going from Habla in the direction of the nurseries, but was waiting, we found out that he was waiting for his grandson, who was supposed to bring some special tools for work in the hothouse. The grandfather had already risen at 3 AM and had taken care of the flock of valuable sheep which he has in Habla (his sheep do not go out to graze), but now he is angry with his grandson who is keeping him waiting. He hopes that there will be livelihood for all, and doesn't enter into politics...
Two buses of children arrive, the drivers get out to have documents checked, meanwhile the soldiers open the gate for a wagon coming from Habla.
The buses leave. 3 vans, full of small plants, leave Habla, inspected and passed. The elderly guard of the nursery arrives in his nephew's car, they go through quickly.
07:45 Eliyahu Gate
At the police station, at the entrance to the checkpoint from the direction of Israel, there were a number of trucks standing and it seemed as though their documents were being checked. The crossing point of the workers was empty and in the area of vehicles' inspection we saw only 2 cars.
At the isolated house, which used to be called "Shvut Ami" (my nation returns), one could still see Independence Day decorations. Is that a sign of something to come? At the turn in the road before Kedumim there was a military vehicle.
One armed soldier was guarding the hitchhiker's station of Kedumim.
Opposite the entrance to the village of J'at there a military vehicle was parked. At the crossroads itself, there wasn't any IDF.
Beneath Kedumim, they are paving a new road which seems to be preparation for further expansion.
We traveled in the direction of Dir Sharaf and went onto highway #60. Opposite the remains of the checkpoint which had been there at the turnoff to the village of Nakura, there was a military jeep. Further along highway #60 (in the direction of Jenin) there was a street sign, "National Park of Samaria, Sebastia".
The question should be asked, who is allowed to go to this "Park", since, at the turnoff, there is also a red sign saying that it is forbidden for Israelis to travel on this road, since it leads to the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority...
We traveled to Dir Sharaf to visit our old friend, the shop/bakery owner. We stopped for coffee and falafel and a talk about what's happening...his son finished his second degree, with distinction, at the University in Nablus and was accepted for further studies in Germany towards his doctorate. It turns out that all of his children, including those who help him all the time in the shop, are excellent students and his wife also completed her second degree at the University, but doesn't work outside the house. He is the only one in the family who didn't study, but provides very well for his family. He told us that, during the closure, "in honor of your holiday", there were a lot of soldiers and military vehicles everywhere, as though they were just waiting for something to happen.
Again, there was a conspicuous lack of compatibility between the abilities of people to adapt themselves to every situation and the existence which they are forced to endure.
We traveled to the checkpoint of 'Anabta, where he reported that there were exchanges of fire 2 weeks ago. (we also read about that in the paper).
09:20 'Anabta checkpoint
At the entrance to the turnoff, there was a large sign warning Israeli citizens, in red letters, that the road leads to areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and the entrance is forbidden for Israelis.
An Israeli flag was flying on the guard tower, and there were soldiers there who didn't come down, even when we approached in our car. There is an endless stream, undisturbed, of Palestinian cars going in both directions. We didn't see that the road to the village of Ramin from this crossroad had been fixed or renovated as had been promised a few months ago.
We continued on highway #557, in the direction of Jabara. All the turnoffs to the villages on the way had the same large red signs warning Israelis not to enter the villages (demonization?), which, of course, were not named.
On the contrary, the road to the village of Shufa was renovated and there is a sign with the village's name in Hebrew (before the turnoff to the settlement of Avnei Hefetz). We turned off toward Avnei Hefetz, to check if the blockage before Izbat Shufa had really been removed permanently; we were happy to see a lot of traffic of Palestinian cars as well as Israeli Arabs passing through there with no problem. We continued in the direction of Avnei Hefetz and met up with a military jeep observing the road. We continued to the checkpoint of Te'enim and saw the new fence being slowly constructed around the house of the late Abu Hatam.
The soldier at the checkpoint asked us where we had been, and we answered that we had been on the roads and at the checkpoints and inspected them. Without any answer, he opened the checkpoint for us...
I lengthened this description because I always feel that everything is fine, while really everything is not fine; so very not fine, but I can't get this feeling across...
09:40 We stopped at the Palestinian workers' crossing at Irtach. It was empty and quiet at that hour. It was also dirty with lots of trash strewn around.
We went through Te'enim Gate as we noted that Jubarra is completely blocked from that side. There is a new fence that includes Abu Khatem's house. And the old fence is still there also. Double security.
As we drive we note the beautiful almond trees in bloom. Anabta is open and empty. There is a military jeep at the road leading to Shavei Shomron. It's a lovely spring day and we pass a number of shepherds with their flocks of goats and sheep. We have to stop to let them cross the road.
Habla is empty and quiet. At the plant nursery we see many full grown olive trees for sale. We wonder where they came from.
11:00 We left through the Eliahu Gate.
13:00 Habla - A vehicle from the Ta’oz battalion arrives and its occupants get to work. Six Palestinians, a horse cart and a tractor are waiting. The gate doesn’t open because the female MP isn’t able to open the door of the inspection building. We can see 10 people and a number of vehicles waiting from the other direction.
13:08 The staff finally solves the problem and the gate opens. The first five people enter and go through to the village in two minutes.
13:10 The first five coming from the village approach the revolving gate.
A Palestinian living in Jaljulya asks the soldier for permission to cross for a minute to the other gate to receive something from his brother who’s arrived from Habla, without having to go through inspection. The soldier agrees, escorts him. A welcome flexibility; too bad we don’t witness it more often.
One of those waiting says to us: “If we’re a minute late they don’t let us through but they’re allowed to be late opening the gate.”
13:17 Crossing continues with no problems. A large truck carrying two olive trees comes from Habla, followed by a cart and tractor. A flock of sheep, escorted by a shepherd and small boy.
Everyone who arrives crosses without delay.
13:30 We leave.
13:35 Eliyahu crossing – People cross quickly. No lines.
14:00 Azzun – We stop at Z’s shop to leave parcels. He greets us with a big smile, as usual. He hasn’t yet received the results of his tests at Ichilov Hospital.
14:10 Jayyous – A quick stop at N’s house to buy olive oil.
14:20 Falamya – More vehicles than usual, some waiting, others going through. Only those entering are inspected.
A person blacklisted by the Shabak approaches us; we give him Sylvia’s phone number.
14:40 A Palestinian arrives in his vehicle. He gets out, enters the inspection building. He emerges two minutes later. The vehicle is inspected and he drives away. The driver of a vehicle who came to pick up relatives tells us, in English: “You could travel all around the world without finding a place as tough as this. All day long we’re kept busy obtaining permits and being inspected. It’s awful.”
We drive north.
15:10 A bulldozer is working in the wadi on our way from Kafr Sur to Beit Lid.
15:15 Beit Lid – We meet a student from Al Najah in the grocery, who speaks English. He says things are usually quiet. There were problems only during the olive harvest season.
Tractors and bulldozers at work at the exit from Beit Lid, apparently widening the road.
15:30 Anabta checkpoint – Cars pass quickly without stopping. We don’t see soldiers or the coffee-seller.
15:50 Shufa – The checkpoint is open. The huge concrete cubes still lie by the roadside as a reminder of times past. A large red sign was added recently.
16:00 Te’anim checkpoint – Careful inspections of Palestinian vehicles with the help of dogs. I managed to photograph. Earthmoving equipment continues to be busy.
16:05 Efrayim checkpoint – Irtach - Heavy traffic at this hour. Many Israeli vehicles dropping workers off at the checkpoint. Hundreds hurry home. Some of the Palestinians keep asking us to come in the morning. “It’s hard, hard – a real battle in the morning,” they say.
Three empty buses wait. We weren’t able to find out why.
16:30 We leave.
9:00 am: Tamar is a new member of MachsomWatch and this was her first tour as an observer.
We went through the Eliyahu gate, into Azzunand under road 55 toward Tulkarem. We passed Jayyus, Kafr Jammal and A-ras.We noted that as we went further from Qalqiliya the hills were barren. There were fewer and fewer olive trees. We speculated that lack of water was the reason.
We were looking for olive harvesters but saw almost none. The olive harvest is not yet in full swing.
By the Te'enim gatewe met Abed for whom we had brought forms to sign. We saw the empty checkpoint inAnabtaand went on to Dir Sharrafsay hello to our old friend, Jammal, at his mini market. We visited the area where the Beit Ibacheckpoint had been, and explained to Tamar how it had once worked. Tamar also saw the beautiful wall surrounding an olive grove and Shavei Shomron settlement. We drove through Al-Fundukand Nabi Elyas, and left by the Eliyahu gate.
We visited the Habla gatethat was closed at that hour, 11:00 am.
Translator: Charles K.
A visit to Khirbet Jubara
Khirbet Jab’ara is located south of Tulkarm and east of Tayibeh. The separation fence left this small locality on its west side, the Israeli side (there was free access to Israel), but cut it off from Tuilkarm, the district center. Much of Khirbet Jab’ara’s land was taken to erect the small settlement of Sal’it, numbering about 100 families. There was an appeal to the High Court, which authorized moving the fence.
Karin met a woman from a humanitarian organization belonging to the European Union whose headquarters is in Paris and which has offices in Ramallah and in Qalqilya staffed by Palestinians. She told Karin that soldiers at the checkpoints harass young pupils on their way to school. So we decided to visit Jab’ara and hear from the residents what’s going on.
12:30 Te’enim gate. Even though we coordinated our visit with Tedesa, the soldiers at the checkpoint don’t know about it and we must wait more than 20 minutes for them to contact him and get his authorization to open the gate for us after inspecting our IDs. As we approached the isolated house Abu Hassan’s wife emerged to greet us and gave Alex a big hug. She told us her husband had died; her youngest daughter lives with her. She came out through a small gate she opened with a key she had.
13:00 At the grocery
Smiling village children who’ve already returned from school are at the entrance to the grocery. We talk with the owner and other Palestinians who stop by, asking their opinion of the new route of the fence. “Good and bad…” they reply. Some are satisfied, others aren’t. We meet two blacklisted people whose Israeli work permits were cancelled and give them Sylvia’s phone number (we’ll email their details to Sylvia). We attempt to meet the village leadership; Farouk is in Jericho and Awani is in Nablus. Both report there are no special problems.
13:30 We stop the school bus driver after the children have gotten off. He says that a soldier usually enters the bus, inspects and authorizes him to continue. He’s been working for the company five years and has never been required to include the number of the bus on his permit, a new requirement which is very burdensome for him because he often switches buses (because of a breakdown or some other reason).
We try to leave through the eastern checkpoint – the children’s gate – but we’re firmly refused. The gate is only for residents of the village and people with a permit.
14:00 We return to the gate through which we entered – the Te’anim checkpoint. There’s a new shift of soldiers. They don’t permit us to leave the village. More inquiries, more calls to the DCO while we wait in the car. Karin calls Tedesa but the MP isn’t allowed to speak to him, only to his own commander.
About a quarter of an hour passes, the key arrives, IDs come out and the gate opens. Meanwhile we’re amazed at the speed of construction, the bulldozers flattening hills, raising dust and shifting the route of the fence.
We went to check what has happened regarding the lands of the Kafr Jam'al village which have been confiscated from the Palestinians in the Kohav Yair area
Habla – We arrived very early and there wasn't anybody at the CP.
A tender with a white number plate arrives, makes a round and leaves. From the direction of the village
one can notice one vehicle.
The military vehicle arrives and the organization begins.
The yellow arm opens slowly
13:10 The first person passes through the turnstiles and enters the checking work-station. Two women with their two children enter the checking work-station.
Our friend, who in the past has told us that his authorization had been taken from him and he had thus
been prohibited from working in Israel, arrives on his bicycle. His authorization to work in Israel has
been renewed but only for a month and twenty days. He takes care of the prolongation of his
authorization, and finally does smile. His daughter is getting engaged and he has a bit of money for the
13:20 A vehicle and a tractor enter the village after having been checked and following them comes the plant nursery vehicle and the old man on his horse driven cart. All in all everything is calm and there is no special activity.
Palmia – the crew, 2 soldiers and one military policewoman approach as. They enquire politely who
we are. Two military vehicles arrive and a few soldiers descend from them. They explain that they
make it possible for the farmers who pass the CP to drive on the designated and authorised road
to their lands but only northwards because when driving southwards one approaches the Zofim
settlement. There are no special events and we leave.
On a gravel road twisting between vineyards and agricultural structures, we arrive a the main road (574)
and turn to the left, northwards, to Kafr Jam'al.
14:15 Kaf'r Jam'al – At the grocery we meet Zohir and the members of his family, polite as ever. We came
to hear about a decree that was issued to them (according to the newspaper) about the evacuation of lands
bordering on Kohav Yair. Another man who had more details but didn't speak Hebrew joined us, and
the situation became clearer after Peyahya talked with them: When they applied to the DCO and at a
meeting a few farmers held with the army near the Palmia gate, they were told that a few small changes
in the delineation of the fence were possible, but that they had no reason for fear, they would not be
harmed. In addition they got a notification about the army's request to prolong for four years the
""temporary requisition" of the land which served in the past as the heliport for Barak. And Zohir asks why
are they approached now? They were not approached when the lands were requisitioned first.
Zohir complains that there is an authorization to enter Israel as a tradesman, but as a land owner he and
his children are not allowed to pass on to their lands beyond the fence and to take care of them.
It turns out that in the village there are areas of A, B, and C. The inhabitants whose lands are in the
C area do not receive building permits, and when they begin building they receive noncontinuation orders.
The Israeli Government took the lands of the inhabitants of Kafr Jam'al and Kafr Tzur in order to build
Salit, a cooperative settlement in which only 100 families live, and whose red roofs cans be seen on the
horizon. Beneath Salit the Palestinians have lands, but because the gate which enables the farmers to
reach them is, according to him, opened just for a quarter of an hour in the morning and in the afternoon,
they don't pass there much.
15:15 Kafr Tzur – At the entrance to the village they are working on widening the road. We go up the hill
and stop at the new mosque to observe the view and a section of the separation fence at the bottom of the
We return to the square and continue eastwards (in the direction of El Punduk). Near Ras El Burg we turn
left on a road that is not marked on the maps, through Beit Lyd to road 557 (57 on the signposts) and turn
left, northwards, in the direction of Anabta.
On road 557 there is a military vehicle and two civilian ones, before the junction to Enav.
In front of the CP there are four vehicles and one taxi parked We went to see what had happened..
They say that the passage is open all the time and that they are waiting for their relatives. There are no
problems they tell us smiling. It is difficult to make out whether in the watch tower there are soldiers.
We buy figs and take roud no. 557 in the direction of Netanya.
Teenim CP – we are asked to present papers (is it because I wear a MW badge?). Around us
construction works are in process in order to include Jabara in the Palestinian Zone but changing the
delineation of the dividing fence
Irtah – Efraim CP – There are many Israeli cars on the road returning to Israel after the Palestinian
workmen have descended.
A lively stream of those returning home. They greet us. When we ask how the passage is in the morning
they answer "much better. There is an improvement. Thanks".
A security man stops us at the entrance. He has never seen Israeli women entering the area. Alex gives him a visiting card of Machsom Watch and after a brief consideration he says: "Occupation? Where is the occupation?" and immediately summons his commander. The commander looks at us and lets us continue.
We get on road 444 on our way back to Tel Aviv.
It is very hot during the last week of the Ramadan month and the streets of the villages are almost void of vehicles and people.
Habla – the gate is still shut. Two Habla inhabitants + a driver in his car are waiting to enter the village. At the other side there is a vehicle and a few people who are waiting.
The military vehicle arrives. A few moments are spent on getting organized. Those who wish to leave are sent to the checking station, the papers of those entering are checked by the military policeman near the gate.
people (6 men and one woman) are leaving the village. The plant nursery vehicle enters.
Balal, one of those who wished to enter, is checked and detained. He has a work permit for Israel, he lives at Habla, and although his entry permit is for CP 109 he wishes to enter by the Habla CP, because of the heat, the fatigue and the fast. This morning he left for Israel by the Eyal CP. The soldiers remain hardhearted, even a phone call to the CPO is of no avail and the exhausted Palestinian remains waiting. "I have an entry permit to Israel and I don't have a permit to return home" he says and points in the direction of Habla.
We try to explain to the soldiers the absurdity of the situation, ask them for some flexibility, but they remain steadfast: "We obey orders".
A tractor leaves the village and three other Palestinians enter. We notice a group of women who are detained near the gate at the way out from Habla, in the blazing sun. A Palestinian explains that they are on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Ramadan.
We leave and take Balal till beyond the Eliyahu CP and return in the direction of Alfey Menashe.
We have parcels with toys for distribution to the children of the Bedouin village Arab A-Ramadin. The joy of the children who fall upon the piles of toys is heartwarming. It is so easy to bring joy to a child's heart.
A military command car and three cars with yellow number plates pass in the village. We have no idea where they are headed to. We continue westwards on road no. 55.
We turn right at Azzun and continue on the road which leads to Tul Karem, passing under road no. 55 (separation by levels) through Jiyus, Kafr Tzur and A-Ras, in order to reach Khirbet Jubara. We have heard about complains by residents, about different matters, and are going to see what chances there are of meeting residents and hearing directly from them. At the T junction where we used to observe, instead of turning right with the road that leads to Tul Karem (under road no. 557, another separation by levels), we continued straight northwards according to the signpost that points to Jubara.
Jubara CP (753) "Life Fabric Gate" – we parked the car on the side and told the soldier who approached us that we wanted to go to Jubara. At first he said that "this isn't here" and then that the passage needed an authorization as there it is "the blue zone" while we were in the "red zone". Behind us there s a red signpost warning not to enter the A zone from the direction we came from. The soldier at the CP explains that one continues on the road and turns left (to Tulkarem) one reaches Zone A. He also explains the known entry regulations to a settlement which is situated in the Juncture Region, he has clear instructions about who is allowed to pass and what it is allowed to pass.
A vehicle arrives and while the driver enters to be checked, the passenger who is with him explains to us that there is a possibility to pass from the village to Israel on foot, on an unpaged road; and also that one has to get an authorization to take across any goods that are beyond the limited personal use. (We heard a lot about this at the time in Ras A-Tira.
Our presence makes him nervous and we are politely asked to leave(.
We returned by the same route to the village of Tzur, at the square we turned eastwards (in the direction of Kur Haja and Punduk). At the turning, before Kur, we turned to the left (northward) on the road leading to Beit Lid and which still isn't marked on the maps.
Beit Lid – we stop at the grocery to buy goods.
Anabta CP – it is quiet, there is little traffic.
Shufa – the blockade on the road turning westwards to Izbat Shufa has been removed, the blocks on both sides of the road enable to movement of vehicles on both sides of the village.
Te'enim CP – cars with Arab drivers are being meticulously checked. The car which passed before us was asked to stop on the right side beyond the CP for a throrough check. We asked to soldiers how is was possible to enter Hirbet Jabara. They directed us to the northern CP "perhaps from there". They also talked about "red Zone" and "blue Zone": they don't understand A. B and C.
"on the Israeli side", south of the CP, there are considerable digging and construction works. For what purpose?
Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim) – cars arrive from which workmen, who return home, descend. The traffic is less lively than on normal days.
We turn to road no. 444 and from there home.
A few details about Hirbet Jabara, A-Ras Kafr Tzur and the Fence:
We knew the village of Hirbet Jabara (three kilometers east of Taibe) when the dividing fence was erected in 2003 and it remained with its 350 inhabitants and most of its lands on the western side of the fence, in the juncture region. Our shifts observed the entrance to the village and to the Bank at the CP (Te'enim) and we witnessed all the changes in the area: The building of a new fence, the roads, the changes at the checkpoints/gates.
Although a short time ater the fence was erected in 2003 the state of Israel decided to change the delineation of the fence in the area and to transfer the village to its eastern side and to join it to the rest of the Bank, it still is separated from Tul Karem, its county seat and the rest of the Bank, and all the restrictions and limitations apply to it. Since the construction of the fence in this area the villages of Peraon (north of road 557) Hirbet Jabara, A-Ras and Tzur appealed a few times to the High Court of Justice against the transit arrangements and especially against the delineation of the fence (the existing one and the one proposed by the security forces and the government of Israel).
One glimpse at the map shows the noticeable deviation of the fence delineation from the green line in this area "owing to the Sal'it settlement in the regional council Shomron. It was established in 1979 as a Nahal settlement, by a Bnei Akiva group, and was made a civilian secular workers' settlement. The colonizing movement: the Herut Betar movement. The declared aim of its establishment was the creation of a buffer between Arab settlements on both sides of the Green Line" (taken from their site). Till 1996 60 families lived there and till today their number incrased to 108.
The different petitions delayed the execution of the modification of the fence's delineation, but the High Court of Justice decision (as far as I understand the last one, dating September 2009) which unified all the petitions, determined that the delineation proposed (by the Government) which isn't based on the future development plans of the two settlements, Sal'it and Zofim, is proportional and must be implemented. The new delineation is supposed to return to the east side of the fence about 2500 dunams from the lands of the villages and the village of Hirbet Jabara, but to leave on the west side 40% of its lands.
The High Court of Justice also orders the military commander, after the setting up of the new delineation, "to reexamine the location of the gates and their opening hours, in accordance with the needs of the farmers and in order to minimize the damage as much as possible". About gate 753 it was said: "There is no disagreement about the illegality of the fence fragment on which the gate is situated, which severely damages the life texture of the inhabitants of the villages adjacent to it. If this segment of the fence is dismantled, the activation of the gate fixed in it will become redundant".
Who knows what happened at Hirbet Jabara since the verdict and why, if the village still is situated in the juncture area, can't we reach it?
05:50 Eliyahu crossing
We see workers who have already gone through the checkpoint, sitting at the bus stop which is usually full of settlers, waiting for rides. At least 5 vehicles are being inspected at the vehicles inspection booth. About 30 Palestinians are waiting in the pedestrian line.
06:05 Agricultural crossing at north Jayyus
The crossing opened at about 05:30, by now there are few people. A tractor goes by with a cart in which there are 2 youths and 2 adult women and a lot of cartons. The policewoman looks over the cartons and talks with the women while the men show their documents and then the women.
A private car with 2 adults arrives, is quickly checked and goes through.
A horse and cart, also with a lot of empty cartons, arrives with 2 men.
A worker, on foot, hurries to get through and, at the last moment, at 06:28, a tractor loaded with workers is inspected and goes through.
Even though we can't hear what is said, it seems that the soldiers know the people going through and their behavior is efficient. (Of course, only those with permits ever come and we can't see all the farmers who, for whatever reason, did not receive permits to work their land.)
06:30 The gate closes and we leave. Return to the Eliyahu crossing.
06:54 Eliyahu crossing, in the direction of Israel.
We undergo a thorough inspection, including documents, opening car doors and the baggage and consultation with the man in charge.. While we are waiting, we see the bus for children coming from the direction of Qalqilya, still without the children, going through a thorough inspection and, behind it, a long line of vehicles waiting for inspection. On the dirt road leading to the Bedouin "village", Arav a Ramadin, the children of the village are waiting for the bus which is stuck at the checkpoint.
5 workers are waiting next to the turnstile, others inside the inspection booth. We see at least 30 workers waiting. We didn't see workers outside, who had already gone through. A van from a nursery waits on our side to go into Habla.
07:15 The first workers come through, after 10 minutes. The bus which collected the children arrives and the driver says he spent 15 minutes at the checkpoint. Also on the previous day he had to pass several times, since the bigger children had exams at different hours and they didn't allow them through without him. The Habla checkpoint was closed, of course, and he had to travel around the outside, by way of Qalqilya.
07:25 The second group of workers exits, complaining about the slowness of the inspection. The nursery driver, who wanted to cross into Habla with his van, got through 20 minutes later (and had already been waiting when we arrived). Reserve soldiers, who are there for only 2 days, want to talk with us. When we mention that the insepctions are taking a long time today, they agree with us that we are more expert then they are in the issues of checkpoints...A taxi passes from Habla. It seems that the inspection is quicker and groups go through in about 3 minutes. But still the line doesn't get shorter, because people keep arriving.
07:50 We leave.
08:00 Eliyahu crossing
We don't see workers at the entrance, but there are about 5 vehicles at the inspection booth.
We travel to Dir Sharaf to meet a Palestinian so he can sign some document sent by Sylvia. On the way, we saw people reaping in the fields with hand sickles, a very pastoral sight. We also saw "modern" scarecrows - blue nylon bags waving in the wind and supposedly chasing away the birds. The man we met to sign the papers invited us to the country club of Shchem, "Club el Medina", next to the Dir Sharaf crossroad. It has been closed since the beginning of the second Intifada (10 yrs ago), until about 2 yrs ago, after they took away the checkpoint at Beit Iba, and it is now undergoing restoration. The place is very beautiful, with a swimming pool and an area for performances.
We contiued to Dir Sharaf and visited an acquaintance who owns a bakery and grocery. We hope things will continue this way...On the road at the crossroads of Dir Sharaf a lot of construction is going on but, according to him, they are not repairing the road but are laying sewage pipes to the entrance of Beit Lid. In the valley there, they are building a sewage waste plant. Maybe afterward they will also repair the road, but this requires a lot of money and the PA doesn't have it.
09:25 On the way back, there was a military jeep at Dir Sharaf crossroad, the first one we saw today (other than those at the checkpoints). Next to the entrance to Beit Lid there was a new big cow shed. We returned by way of the Te'enim checkpoint (Jabara), with flags waving but no inspections. We saw no sign of work on the fence which was supposed to be moved.