'Azzun 'Atma, Sun 12.4.09, Afternoon
Because of the holiday there is closure and so workers do not go through the checkpoint, only those who work at Elkana who received special permission. (Why stop the building of the settlement which is next to the cage?)
The new checkpoint at Azzun Atma leaves 10 houses outside the village. Hard to believe but there are Palestinians who have to go through the checkpoint to the grocery shop and come back through it. It is hard to grasp the sight of a boy of 13 going up to a soldier, showing a permit and going through. Some minutes later he returns with provisions. Hard to believe but we saw it. Not just one boy but several.
The village is now closed hermetically. The gate locks at 21.00. A local said that he had taken his daughter to hospital some days ago and had not been able to return and so had slept outside. Locals said that the army uses the main road of the village as a security road. Each night there is heavy traffic of army jeeps. The soldiers stop people and ask for IDs and where they live. We stand with the locals next to the parking lot and they tell us about their life now that there is this present and new army presence. It is not to be believed. In other villages the occupation is usually outside the village and it is possible to move freely inside the village itself (Usually this is so, except for times of curfew or the grass widow procedure). The presence of the border police is here a matter of routine. One can go to the shop as a matter of course or visit family. Not at Azzun Atma.
The woman soldier insisted that we could not pass the gate, although Not this is area B. She summons the police. A police van arrives and the policeman, E., insists that we cannot pass the checkpoint. "It is a transgression of the law." For several years we have done so we tell him. It is hard to believe his ignorance of the law. We have to obey the soldier and we may not photograph. A while later an army vehicle arrives and more soldiers come out as reinforcements. E. claims that he is an GCO order that the area is a closed military zone. "Come with us to the van and see". He says. We nearly did so but Yifat was obstinate. "Show me the order here," she says. "Why did you not bring it with you?" We hand over our IDs and sit down to wait for the order which does not arrive. In other words he lied when he said he had such an order. He evidently intended to lock the gate as soon as we left the village. We sat on the pavement next to the gate and waited. Boys went past to the store. When they came back with provisions the soldiers let them through without checking. We have a camera and the quota of food does not photograph well. We waited an hour. In the end Daphne went up to E. and asked for our IDs. We left.