'Azzun 'Atma, Tue 28.4.09, Afternoon
‘Azzun ‘Atma (upper checkpoint at the entrance to the village)
17:50 The settlers’ vehicles go by without even seeing the checkpoint at the entrance to the village that has turned ‘Azzun ‘Atma into a prison. As residents of Sha’arei Tiqwa have already explained to us on other occasions, they are no longer settlers, and it’s no longer a settlement since the separation fence passes to the east and includes them, as it were, within Israeli territory. Maybe it includes them, but the residents of the village next to them are no longer in Palestine, but nor are they in Israel yet. Trapped in between. So they have to be inspected when they enter, and inspected when they leave, to need special permits in order to leave the house.
When we reach the checkpoint, the gate is closed. The soldiers are conducting an exercise: “Suspicious people to the left…suspicious people to the right…Fire! Fire! Fire!” They’re playing their war games over the radio. After a few minutes the exercise is over and the gate opens. The soldiers know the names of those going through, and how they’re related to each other: the intimacy that forms between the jailer and the prisoner.
“Suspicious figures on the road,” the soldier in the watchtower above the checkpoint shouts suddenly. The checkpoint commander corrects him: “Upside-down Turkish horseman,” not yet recovered from the war games. He runs over immediately and begins laughing – they’re two village children returning home.