'Azzun 'Atma, Huwwara, Fri 3.4.09, Morning

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Ofra T., Nili F., Orit D., Michal W. (reporting), Translator: Charles K.
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

08:40  ‘Azzun ‘Atma

An elderly Palestinian man with a cart of eggs pulled by a donkey waited in front of the checkpoint.  The soldiers refused to let him go through.  Later we learned that the man sells the eggs on the road.  We talked to a sergeant who was there, who explained that its possible to take through a limited quantity of vegetables or eggs, but not a “commercial” quantity.  We asked what a “commercial” quantify was, and he replied: “A commercial quantity is what it is.”


A young man, a resident of ‘Azzun ‘Atma, who stood nearby and spoke Hebrew, said to us:  “We live worse than dogs.  It’s no surprise there are suicide bombers.  In ‘Azzun ‘Atma it’s like being in jail.  Closed in on all sides.  A donkey has it better.  The area on the other side of the fence also belongs to the ‘Azzun village; the soldier is talking nonsense.”


He also told us that the checkpoint closes at ten at night, and in case of emergency you have to call the police or the army, and two hours can pass until you get permission to go through.  He also said: “They want people to suffer, to give up their land and leave.  Who can live this way?”  He told us that an army Hummer can enter any home, even though the village is a quiet one, maintaining good relations with the neighboring settlement of Sha’arei Tiqva.  He thinks the Israelis want the village lands to expand Sha’arei Tiqva.


We suggest to the soldier that we bring the eggs to the other side in our car.  The soldiers said that he has to bring them through in his cart.  The egg seller continued to wait.  We understood from the young man with whom we spoke that permits to go through are granted arbitrarily.  Sometimes they wait a few hours until the soldier at the checkpoint lets them through.


Once again we talked to the soldier, suggesting that we take the eggs through.  This time he claimed that it’s forbidden to bring merchandise from the territories into Israel, by order of the Ministry of Health, because there’s no supervision of eggs from Judea and Samaria, and “you can’t know what’s in the eggs.”  The egg seller tried, without success, to convince the soldier to let him go through.  Apparently, he’s usually permitted to do so.  We asked the soldier how he thinks the egg seller will be able to make a living if he’s not allowed to go through.  The soldier replied:  “That’s not my concern.  Maybe he can go through somewhere else.”  A female soldier standing nearby said that there’s no other way to go through.


09:45  En route to Huwwara – A police car randomly stopped vehicles for inspection.


10:00  Huwwara.  The soldier on duty asked us to move back and stand at the entrance, claiming that those are the rules.  In response to our question he said that there aren’t any particular restrictions in effect.  Traffic, as usual on Friday, was very light.


About 11 cars waited at the vehicle checkpoint, in two lanes.  The soldiers were busy talking among themselves, and didn’t seem as if they were trying to inspect the cars quickly.


10:15  Yitzhar checkpoint.

A police car with five policemen stopped cars randomly.  About three cars were stopped each time.  They even inspected the interior of one of them.  The passengers in one of the cars, who were being released when we arrived, reported had to wait an hour to be released.  While we were there, the cars were released after a few minutes.  One of the drives told us that they’re being treated better because we’re there.